Nails often reflect our general state of health. Changes in the nail, such as discoloration or thickening, can signal health problems including liver and kidney diseases, heart and lung conditions, anemia and diabetes.
Symptoms that could signal nail problems include changes in color, shape, and/or thickness, swelling of the skin around the nails, bleeding or discharge, and pain. See your dermatologist for successful diagnosis and treatment of nail problems.
Hereditary thinning or baldness (also called androgenetic alopecia): This is the most common cause of hair loss. It affects men and women. About 80 million people in the United States have hereditary thinning or baldness.
When men have hereditary hair loss, they often get a receding hairline. Many men see bald patches, especially on the top of the head. Women, on the other hand, tend to keep their hairline. They see noticeably thinning hair. The first sign of hair loss for many women is a widening part. In rare cases, men see noticeably thinning hair. And in rare cases, women can see a receding hairline or bald patches. The reasons for this are unknown.
Alopecia areata: Researchers believe that this is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune means the body attacks itself. In this case, the body attacks its own hair. This causes smooth, round patches of hair loss on the scalp and other areas of the body. People with alopecia areata are often in excellent health. Most people see their hair re-grow. Dermatologists treat people with this disorder to help the hair re-grow more quickly.
Cicatricial (scarring) alopecia: This rare disease develops in otherwise healthy people. The disease destroys a person’s hair follicles. Scar tissue forms where the follicles once were, so the hair cannot re-grow. Treatment tries to stop the inflammation, which destroys the hair follicles.
Central centrifugal cicatricial (scarring) alopecia: This type of hair loss occurs most often in women of African descent. It begins in the center of the scalp. As it progresses, the hair loss radiates out from the center of the scalp. The affected scalp becomes smooth and shiny. The hair loss can be very slow or rapid. When hair loss occurs quickly, the person may have tingling, burning, pain, or itching on the scalp. Treatment may help the hair re-grow if scarring has not occurred.
Resources: American Academy of Dermatology