Hereditary baldness, does the genetic component really matter?

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Hereditary Baldness

Many men shouldn’t be surprised when they start losing their hair in their twenties. The same happened to their parents, who lost their hair in the past.

These men suffer from androgenetic alopecia, the clinical term for male pattern baldness, which affects millions of men worldwide.

Also called hereditary hair loss, androgenetic alopecia shortens the hair growth cycle, leading to thinning and thinning.

In fact, numerous researches have found that men whose parents suffered from baldness run a higher risk of incidence than others. What’s more, children may also inherit sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) from their parents. It is a sex hormone that causes the hair follicles to shrink over time, leading to baldness.

It’s not just men who are affected

In fact, the very high percentage of women are affected by androgenetic alopecia, albeit with different thinning. Classic male hair loss begins in the temple and crown area and then converges together in one spot. Women, on the other hand, tend to have generalized thinning, particularly noticeable between the hairline.

This begs the question: is there a “baldness gene”?

Initially, scientific studies had found a link between male pattern baldness and the androgen receptor gene. In 2017, nearly 290 different genetic predictors of androgenetic alopecia were found. These predictors, however, do not provide a guarantee of an exact genetic match: researchers found that among participants with the most baldness genes, only 58% had reported hair loss.

 

Cause of genes?

Hereditary factors play a crucial role:the androgen receptor gene is located on the X chromosome, which the child receives from the mother.

But Dr. Amy McMichael, professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, says it’s not that simple: “Androgenic hair loss can come from both sides of the family.” 

On the link with high testosterone levels, Dr. McMichael also dismissed this misconception, stating that “men can have testosterone levels in the normal rangeand have great hair loss.”

Hair loss is actually related to sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a converted form of testosterone. 

 

Correlation with stress of various types

It is often said that calvariance can be caused by stress, health problems or hairstyle choices. Trauma, major lifestyle changes, health issues and high-pull hairstyles can cause hair loss (effluvium), but they do not cause male or female baldness. Hair loss after pregnancy, illness or major psychological stress is called telogen effluvium. Thinning caused by tension created by tight hairstyles is called traction alopecia. People suffering from androgenetic alopecia should avoid tight hairstyles or aggressive styling methods because of the severe damage to the hair. 

 

Hair loss – treatment in men and women

If you already have a family history of baldness, you should take active steps to prevent it. Becoming bald is not synonymous with old age but, on the contrary, hair loss can occur during adolescence and is common among people in their 20s and 30s. The earlier it starts, the more likely it can become a rather serious issue.

Two out of three are men who have lost most of their hair by age 60. Potential contributors to hair loss include, as noted above, disease, age, genetics and even grooming habits.

The best known drug treatment for baldness, as you know, turns out to be the minoxidil (also known as Rogaine) slows hair loss in both men and women. 

This product can be applied locally to the scalp twice a day and is available without a prescription. People generally see mild regrowth results in as little as four months with consistent use. However, when you discontinue the use of this medication, you run the risk of losing your hair again.

For men, the finasteride (known as Propecia or Proscar in stores) can also be used to slow hair loss. This is an orally administered pill that controls hair loss hormones. According to Harvard Health, about 99% of men can prevent baldness by using finasteride, and about two-thirds of men who use it have experienced new hair growth. Women should not use Propecia, especially if they are pregnant or may become pregnant soon, as it can cause birth defects. If you are a woman with high male hormones, it is best to seek hormone treatment through the birth control pill. Ask your doctor about the best solution.

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