What your hair can tell about your health
April, 11 2020 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
Our body is a sum of its different parts. Although the different parts are seemingly autonomous, yet they function in unison. And our body has its own ways of signalling. A problem with one part can be a sign of a deeper issue. But can we read those signs? How do we interpret them? In this post, we will detail what your hair can tell about your overall health.
There is a misconception that the hair on our head is only for embellishment. That it is just a feature of our body which makes it look attractive. And it does not matter if they are not in the best shape and healthy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our hair is an essential feature of our body. Its health can say a lot about the underlying health of our mind and body.
What does it say about my overall health if I experience premature greying of hair? What about dandruff and itchiness? Or dullness or hair fall? Let us discuss in some detail.
It has been established that stress is one of the most important reasons for premature greying and hair fall. Stress manifests itself in very many ways. And one of the clear signs of a stressed mind and body is premature greying of hair and eventual fall. We often don’t realise but in our day and age, demands on our time and energy are very high. High pressure work environment coupled with our lifestyles adds to our stress levels. And before we even realise - it begins to show. Hair starts greying earlier than usual, our skin looks dull and the overall health of our hair is impacted. So if you notice any of these signs, chances are that you are living a stressful life. We recommend that you exercise regularly, engage in mindful activities, and stop smoking if you do. It is not only good for your hair but will also ensure a healthy body. Getting professional help to manage stress is recommended as well.
Anemia is a condition in which the blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells. This leads to reduced oxygen flow to the various organs of the body. The most common type is caused by a shortage of iron in the body. An anaemic body will shed more hair than usual. And over a period it can lead to hair loss. In case you experience hair loss along with fatigue and skin pallor – then you should consider getting a blood test.
How can your hair signal protein deficiency in your body? Protein is absolutely essential for hair growth and health. If your diet is not protein rich, then your hair will suffer the most. The reason is simple – the body will use up whatever little protein you consume leaving little or none for your hair. This will make your hair thinner and an acute deficiency can also lead to hair fall.
Immunodeficiency is a state in which the immune system’s ability to fight infectious diseases is compromised. If it persists, then it can be a severe problem. It impacts the body in its entirety. Researchers often link it to excessive itching and dandruff. Dandruff could also be because of chemicals in hair products – and that can easily be reversed. However, excess itching and dandruff does signal immunodeficiency and gastrointestinal problems. Moreover, if you see yellow dandruff, it could point to a skin condition. We advise that you see a doctor in case your scalp is very itchy and there is excessive dandruff.
Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal disorder, which almost one in five women experience. Women with PCOS experience two types of hair issues—one is excessive hair growth on the face or body, while the second is hair fall on the scalp. Women with PCOS produce higher than normal levels of androgen or male hormones like testosterone, which can cause miniaturisation of hair follicles and their eventual fall. So, if you are experiencing hair fall, it could point towards PCOS.
It is important for us to understand that hair is an integral part of our body. It reveals a lot about our health. From Zinc to Vitamin deficiencies, to hormonal imbalances. There are always early signs and often we ignore them, but we should start paying attention to them. And, if you notice these signs in your hair, please see your doctor, that is the necessary first step to good health.