Every girl wishes to have long, lustrous, thick hair. But sadly, what most have these days is damaged, brittle, short and thin hair. And all this is attributed to our sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet and bad environmental conditions. Poor hair growth and hair loss is also attributed to genetic factors, ageing and stress. But whatever the reason be no one likes to see pattern baldness and hair thinning. It is not attractive to look at and it doesn’t show something positive in terms of your health. Normally, your hair is supposed to grow half an inch every month. However, when it doesn’t, there could be a reason for this. In this article, we would take a closer look at some of the major causes of the same.
Here are 7 reasons why your hair has stopped growing and become thin.
Your hair length, strength, color and thickness are defined by your genes. In some people, the growth of hair is longer than the rest. So if you are blessed with those genes, you will have longer and prettier hair. However, if you haven’t been gifted with those genes, you are likely to be prone to hair which stops growing after some time and becomes thin.
Age is an important factor which affects your hair. As you progress in life, your hair starts losing its natural shade and turns gray. But ageing affects your hair in many other ways than just turning them gray. It slows down the growth of your hair makes them smaller, thereby resulting in hair thinning.
Stress of any kind, physical or psychological can have an impact on your hair. It can make your hair more prone to premature graying and can also reduce the strength of every strand. Physical or psychological stress triggers telogen effluvium. In this condition, your hair prematurely moves to the telogen phase, this is when 30% of your hair stops growing. This does not last for a period of more than 6 months. Surgery, physical trauma, illness, fever, sudden weight loss could be responsible for this condition.
4. Hormonal changes
Sudden hormonal fluctuations, especially the ones seen during menopause or pregnancy, can also trigger telogen effluvium. However, hair problems in this phase usually resolve in 6 to 12 months. Other forms of hormonal fluctuations linked to hair loss and hair thinning are PCOD.
5. Thyroid problems
Thyroid problems, like hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism could also induce hair loss and hair thinning. The hormones released by the thyroid gland can regulate important functions of your body like metabolism. An overactive or an underactive thyroid gland can also result in hair loss and hair thinning.
6. Nutritional deficiencies
One of the most important causes of restricted hair growth and hair thinning is nutritional deficiency. Nutrients like iron, protein, biotin and zinc contribute to healthy hair. However, if you are deficient in these essential nutrients, your risk of restricted hair growth and hair thinning increases. Other symptoms of these nutritional deficiencies are cracks in the corner of your mouth, shortness of breath, cold hands and feet, and brittle nails.
7. Hair treatments and styling products
A chemical hair serum or a hair straightener, a styling product or a hair curler, none of these can be beneficial for your hair. Besides this, tight buns, ponytails and complicated hair styles involving back combing and others can be quite damaging for your hair. The harsh chemicals and heat used on your hair for these could be the reason why your hair has stopped growing and is becoming thin.
Beware of the silent killer
By Dr Sudhir Koganti
One may wonder what all this fuss about high blood pressure is. Hypertension causes many cardiovascular diseases that include stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and dementia, thus putting a huge burden on healthcare globally due to morbidity, mortality and associated costs. Last but not least, the public need to be aware of the correct treatment for high blood pressure.
Every year, the World Hypertension Day is celebrated on the 17th of May to increase awareness about this silent killer among general public. International Society of Hypertension along with World Hypertension League has designated the month of May as “May Measurement Month.”
The aim of this initiative is to screen as many people as possible that are over the age of 18 years for suspected hypertension. This strategy would greatly enhance in identifying silent or undiagnosed hypertensives so that they can be targeted with guideline directed lifestyle, dietary advice and treatment.
Awareness on the lower threshold of blood pressure reading required to label an individual as hypertensive is also required. American Heart Association guidelines released in 2017 clearly stipulate that a blood pressure reading of over 130/80 is now considered as stage 1 hypertension. However, the job of a cardiologist doesn’t stop with diagnosis but actually starts there. Once someone is labelled as hypertensive, it needs to be established if it is true or an entity called white coat hypertension.
Furthermore, investigations may have to be carried out to see if hypertension is secondary to a cause. Once diagnosed, a decision needs to be taken if lifestyle modification can be adopted or treatment needs to be initiated early.
Lifestyle modifications include six key steps and they are:
• Get expert advice from your doctor to help you understand your results;
• Lower salt/sodium to prevent excess fluid in the blood, which strains blood vessels;
• Eat more fruits and veggies – particularly potassium-rich ones – to balance out sodium in the blood;
• Exercise – it makes the heart stronger, putting less strain on blood vessels;
• Quit smoking – constituents of tobacco smoke damages blood vessel linings; and
• Monitor your blood pressure at home
As per studies and data, thousands of people are on wrong treatment for hypertension with a class of drugs called Betablockers (Atenolol, Metoprolol etc) being prescribed as first line or second line agent.
Betablockers have been phased out as first line or second line drugs to treat hypertension a while ago, unless there is concomitant coronary artery disease or heart failure. In fact, the same holds for other concomitant conditions too such as kidney disease, stroke etc.
Essentially, the key message is one prescription does not fit all and it need to be tailored to the individual in a dedicated specialist clinic. People need to actively undergo blood pressure screening of themselves.
They need to nudge their relatives and friends in the month of May and seek expert advice on how to manage and monitor this silent killer over the long run to lead an active and healthy life. (Writer is Consultant Cardiologist, Citizens Hospitals, Nallagandla, Serilingampally)
Dr Sudhir Koganti
Jawless fish may hold key to effective brain cancer treatment
A chemical found in jawless parasitic fish can be used to deliver anti-cancer drugs directly to brain tumours, as well as lead to more effective treatments for trauma and stroke, a study has found.
The research, published in the journal Science Advances, found that molecules from the immune system of the parasitic sea lamprey may also be combined with a wide array of other therapies, offering hope to treat disorders like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease or even traumatic injuries.
“We believe it could be applied as a platform technology across multiple conditions,” said Eric Shusta, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.
When injected into the bloodstream, many drugs cannot reach targets in the brain as the blood-brain barrier prevents large molecules from leaving the blood vessels in the brain, researchers said.
In conditions such as brain cancer, stroke, trauma and multiple sclerosis, however, the barrier becomes leaky in and around the disease locations, researchers said.
The study found that leaky barrier offers a unique point of entry, allowing molecules to access the brain and deliver drugs precisely on target.
“Molecules like this normally couldn’t ferry cargo into the brain, but anywhere there’s a blood-brain barrier disruption, they can deliver drugs right to the site of pathology,” Shusta said in a statement.
Researchers said that the technology takes advantage of the fact that many diseases disrupt body’s natural defense mechanism – the blood-brain barrier, which lines the blood vessels of the central nervous system, protecting the brain from circulating toxins or pathogens.
They also linked the molecules to a chemotherapy called doxorubicin. The treatment prolonged survival in mouse models of glioblastoma, an incurable cancer.
“This could be a way to hold therapies in place that don’t otherwise accumulate well in the brain so they can be more effective,” said Ben Umlauf from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“There are several disease processes that disrupt the blood-brain barrier and we could conceive of delivering a variety of different therapies with these molecules,” said John Kuo from the University of Texas in the US.
Life expectancy linked to a person’s walking speed
People who walk slowly have a lower life expectancy than those who walk fast, a recent study has claimed. According to the study published in the Journal of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, those with a habitually fast walking pace have a long life expectancy across all levels of weight status – from underweight to morbidly obese.
Underweight individuals with a slow walking pace had the lowest life expectancy (an average of 64.8 years for men, 72.4 years for women). The same pattern of results was found for waist circumference measurements.
Professor Tom Yates, the lead author of the study, said, “Our findings could help clarify the relative importance of physical fitness compared to body weight on the life expectancy of individuals. In other words, the findings suggest that perhaps physical fitness is a better indicator of life expectancy than body mass index (BMI) and that encouraging the population to engage in brisk walking may add years to their lives.”
Dr Francesco Zaccardi, co-author of the study, said, “Studies published so far have mainly shown the impact of body weight and physical fitness on mortality in terms of relative risk, for example, a 20 per cent relative increase of risk of death for every 5 kilograms per metres squared increase, compared to a reference value of a BMI of 25 kilograms per metres squared (the threshold BMI between normal weight and overweight).”
Last year, Professor Yates and his team showed that middle-aged people who reported that they are slow walkers were at higher risk of heart-related disease compared to the general population.