OUR GREAT MINDS

    by Linita E. Mathew

    Going Bald?

    A man of today possesses many qualities to succeed in life: intelligence, drive, ambition, and dedication. Even though the men of today work hard to keep a good head on their shoulders, the heads of these men have one thing in common: a greater risk of developing male pattern baldness at a younger age. The average adult loses 50–100 hairs a day; however, men specifically are beginning to observe noticeably thinner hair in as early as their twenties. In fact, “about 25% of men aged 25 years will have some degree of clinically apparent androgenic alopecia and about 42% of men develop androgenic alopecia.” Male pattern baldness, also referred to as androgenetic alopecia, is the most common type of hair loss and will affect 50% of men by the age of 50. Males can detect the initial stages of male pattern baldness typically with a hairline that recedes into an “M” shape that eventually disperses into a “U” on top of the scalp.

    There are many common myths told for hair loss such as: it is inherited from the mother’s side, it occurs with prolonged wearing of hats, by using a blow dryer, and dyeing hair frequently. Yet, these rationales have not been proven. So then what could contribute to a receding hairline appearing more frequently in the present-day generation? At least six known factors are associated with hair loss: genetics, age, stress, medical, nutritional, and environmental factors. Genetics can be responsible for up to 81% of the condition. However, the 21st century man is living in a fast-paced, high-pressure society where stress and poor diet could be the culprits of this slow scalp fad. The high-level stress factor that contributes to androgenetic alopecia has also been linked with other illnesses in the same men such as: coronary heart disease, prostate cancer, obesity, and high blood pressure. Not only can it be a foreshadowing factor for risk of further physical illness, male pattern baldness can also leave a lasting impression on the psychological health of men. Male pattern baldness has the ability to tamper with the masculinity of a man through decreasing self-esteem, raising anxiety, and causing social withdrawal.

    The first important step is to understand how the process works. The growth of each hair strand occurs in the hair follicle which passes through three phases: anagen (growth), catagen (transitional), and telogen (resting). DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is the hormone responsible for narrowing the hair follicles. Production of this hormone can affect sensitive scalp regions with each new growth cycle that occurs. Hair follicles exposed to DHT consistently decrease in size over time, thus continuously thinning the hair until eventually the hair stops growing.

    Is there a cure? Unfortunately not yet, however, the education of preservation and adapting your lifestyle for prevention will help minimize the effects. When you start to notice thinning hair, it is time to be proactive! Most men will not take action until after 50% of hair loss has already occurred. Therefore, a good start would be to re-evaluate a poor diet, reduce and manage stress levels, and minimize toxins that enter the body. If the hair loss continues its path of severity, the most proactive route to take would be to set up a consultation with a hair specialist. In Calgary, du Brule’s Hair Restoration Centre has helped men and women for the past five generations. Each individual has a hair loss case that is specific to them and needs to be treated as unique and separate from the next. The staff of du Brule perform each consultation face-to-face and after a series of tests determine the root case specific to the individual. Once more information becomes available through these tests, they will create a personalized treatment and routine that best suits the patient’s needs. And, most importantly, to complement the treatment, psychological support is offered through counseling each step of the way.

    There are many products that can be prescribed; however, it is important to be consistent with one and not attempt multiple forms of treatment. In the most severe scenarios, where self-routines prove ineffective, hair transplants can be recommended. Hair transplants are proven to be the most effective because tiny plugs of hair are removed from healthy growing areas and moved to the areas where growth has stopped.

    There are certain circumstances in our life that cannot be controlled and male pattern baldness is one of them. However, with proper education and proactive routines this condition can be prevented, minimized, and kept under control. At times our life requires us to let go of the reins and let life happen, yet at other times, we need to grip the reins firmly, take control and apply the breaks. When male pattern baldness is involved go ahead, grab your reins, take charge and break baldness.

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