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What is hair loss

  


 The word alopecia refers to any type of hair lossthinning hair or baldness in any hairy region of the body. Baldness tends to be a more specific term among lay people, as it usually refers to hair loss on the scalp - however, it can mean hair loss in any part of the body. 
 Alopecia areata means "hair loss in areas". In the majority of cases hair loss is a normal process of aging, and not a disease. Because it is not seen as life-threatening to doctors it is often disregarded. This is unfortunate because hair loss can cause serious distress in some people, with some far reaching psychological effects. In some cases hair loss may be a consequence of some medical treatment, especially cancer treatment drugs - when the hair loss is generally temporary.
 Male-pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss, affecting around half of all men by 50 years of age. It usually starts around the late twenties or early thirties and most men have some degree of hair loss by their late thirties.
 It generally follows a pattern of a receding hairline, followed by thinning of the hair on the crown and temples, leaving a horseshoe shape around the back and sides of the head. Sometimes it can progress to complete baldness, although this is uncommon.
 Male-pattern baldness is hereditary, which means it runs in families. It's thought to be caused by oversensitive hair follicles, linked to having too much of a certain male hormone.
 As well as affecting men, it can sometimes affect women (female-pattern baldness). During female-pattern baldness, hair usually only thins on top of the head.
 It's not clear if female-pattern baldness is hereditary and the causes are less well understood. However, it tends to be more noticeable in women who have been through the menopause (when a woman's periods stop at around age 52), perhaps because they have fewer female hormones.

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