Getting to Know More about Androgenic Alopecia

Androgenic alopecia or sometimes referred to as androgenetic alopecia is a type of hair loss that is hereditary in nature.  More commonly referred to as male pattern baldness, this type of hair loss follows a specific pattern usually starting from the temple regions and the crown.  The condition often starts with the thinning of hair lining which is then followed by hair loss.  The problem with androgenic alopecia is that it is not obvious that you have it until it manifests itself after a few years with its distinctive thinning of hair strands.

Perhaps the only way to know that you may have androgenic alopecia is to observe your immediate male relatives such as your father and your brother.  If one of them has the condition, there is a chance that you may also have inherited the condition.

Studies on androgenetic alopecia shows that the condition is more prevalent among whites than on any other race or skin colors. In addition, the condition is rather asymptomatic which is why it is hard to determine the condition earlier on so that intervention measures can be made.  The hair loss is often so gradual that the man affected with the androgenetic alopecia usually only notices the condition until he has already lost nearly 30 percent of his hair.  Most of the time, it is only when there is a clear patch in the crown that they become aware of their condition and takes the time for some form of intervention.

What Causes Androgenic Alopecia?

Androgenetic alopecia is basically a hormonal issue involving the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT).  The presence of DHT in the scalp is usually not harmful to the hair.  However, at very high levels, the DHT begins to thin out the hair follicles as if sucking their very juices.  When the hair follicle thins out, only thin hair strands are able to grow.  This is the point where you can see scalp through the many strands of hair.  Eventually, the hair follicle becomes totally squeezed out to the point that it can no longer support any hair growth.  For those who are genetically inclined or susceptible to male pattern baldness, the condition actually hastens during high levels of stress or exposure to radiation.

Are there Treatments for Androgenic Alopecia?

Yes!  There are actually two drugs that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States for the treatment of androgenic alopecia – the drug finasteride and the drug minoxidil.  Both of these medications are very effective and are even recommended to be used together to get maximum effect.  Basically what finasteride does is that it stops hair loss at hormonal levels and minoxidil on the other hand promotes new hair growth.

What makes finasteride very effective in stopping hair loss is that it stops the formation of DHT which is the main cause of hair loss in the first place.  DHT is actually a byproduct of testosterone and the enzyme 5-alpha reductase.  What finasteride does is that it inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase into converting testosterone into DHT.  Through this, its stopping power for androgenic alopecia is bar none as it treats the condition at the root cause.

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