Does balding run in families? The very name, androgenetic alopecia, indicates a genetic link to male or female pattern baldness, which means the heads of family members could be an indication of what you might expect over time. However, the gene pool that leads to hair loss is more complex than first realized, making it difficult to predict with any degree of certainty how much hair you will hang onto as you age. We have the basics of genetics and hair loss to help you understand the link and what you can do if the genetics are simply not on your side.
The Science (and Hormones) Behind Hair Loss
The physiological process of hair loss begins with the hormone testosterone, which is why baldness is a more prevalent issue among men. Testosterone changes to another hormone known as dihydrotestosterone or DHT over time because of an enzyme called “5 alpha reductase”, which shrinks hair follicles until they can no longer grow hair. The hormone link is why men who experience androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness have higher levels of DHT in their bodies. The process by which testosterone is converted is believed to be, in part, due to genetics, which explains why your family history may contribute to the likelihood you will lose hair during your adult years.
X or Y?
Many people believe that you can tell whether you will keep your hair based on what your grandfather on your mother’s side looks like. There is some truth to this belief since one of the genes that has been found to be linked to hair loss is found on the X chromosome, which comes from your mother. However, scientists have since discovered that this is not the only gene to contribute to the onset of hair loss. In fact, a study published in PLOS Genetics in February 2017 found that more than 200 genes may play a role in whether you will get to keep your hair over your lifetime. Some of those genes are also found on the Y chromosome, which explains why your bald father may also increase your risk of hair loss.
To further muddy the gene pool, other factors contribute to male pattern baldness that have nothing to do with your heredity. For example, nutritional deficiencies, stress, conditions of the scalp and even your hairstyle can affect how well you hang on to those coveted strands. The good news is that if your hair loss can be attributed to some of these other causes, you may be able to stop the damage by addressing the cause directly. If your hair loss is indeed primarily genetic, you will likely need to turn to some of the effective hair restoration treatments available today to return at least some of your hair.
Men (and women) that are distressed about hair loss today have choices to restore their hair permanently. Hair transplantation techniques have evolved into a precise methodology that produces a natural appearance and hair that can be cut and styled just like your original hair. These procedures, when performed by experienced surgeons like Dr. Lupanzula, are minimally-invasive, so you can achieve positive results with minimal disruption to your daily life. While the outcome will take a bit of time to become fully apparent, the new hair should remain over the course of your lifetime.
Don’t let hair loss affect your self-esteem and your quality of life. Contact Dr. Lupanzula at his Belgium office today at 32 2 535 55 40.