Not All Hair Loss Means Hair Problems – Understand The Cycle Of Hair Growth First…

Author: Steven Yeoh

Hair grows in recurring cycles, with each cycle composed of three phases – anagen, catagen and telogen. The anagen phase is also referred to as the growth phase. About 85 to 90% of all the hairs in our heads are in this phase at one time. This part of the growth cycle lasts from 2 to 6 years and can continue for up to 8 years.

Once the hair reaches its maximum length in the anagen phase, the catagen phase of the growth cycle begins. This is a short phase, lasting only about 1 to 2 weeks. The catagen phase is also referred to as the transitional phase, when the cycle reaches the regressive stage and hair growth slows down. The follicle shrinks in size and the base begins to break down.

The telogen phase of the growth cycle is also known as the resting phase, when growth stops completely. This is the part where the follicle becomes degraded. This cycle lasts for about 6 weeks. Some hair may fall out but some stay in the follicle. Near the end of the telogen phase, new hair begins to form and grow. If the old hair is still attached, it is forced out and falls off the head. About 10% of our hair are in the telogen phase.

Hair growth cycle and hair loss

To understand hair loss, it is important that we know the nature of the cycle of hair growth. It is normal for people to lose 50 to 100 hairs a day. When this happens, you are probably in the telogen phase. You’ll probably find these lost strands in your brush, comb or on your shower floor. This is normal and there is no need to worry because they will be replaced by new growth.

It is only when you’re losing more and are noticing rapid thinning that you should be concerned. These are signs that your hair growth is not fast enough to replace lost strands and there is a possibility that your normal hair cycle has been disrupted.

Hair grows from the follicles which are found in the top layer (epidermis) of the skin. It is made of keratin, a form of protein, the same component of the epidermis, fingernails and toe nails. At the base of the follicles, a papilla is found, which is made of blood vessels and nerves. These ensure that the growth cycle runs uninterrupted.

Factors that can affect hair growth

Barring any obstacle, the hair growth cycle will continue unabated. It is only when some factors are applied that the cycle is disrupted or stopped. These factors can lead to temporary hair loss. Or if not, they can cause alopecia, which is more permanent. These can include hormones, nutritional deficiencies, diseases of the thyroid gland, chemotherapy and radiation. The cycle may also be affected by skin diseases of the scalp, trauma or stress.

Certain drugs can also disrupt normal growth, including anti-depressants, hypertension drugs, retinoids and birth control pills. The birth of a baby may also contribute to hair loss, along with diseases such as lupus, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. Men and women with eating disorders or undergoing severe dieting are also susceptible to this condition.

It is interesting to note that hair growth is not indicated in the human embryo in its initial stages. Hair growth only becomes apparent when hair follicles begin to appear in the early stages of the embryo’s development, before it assumes a human form in the mother’s womb. Evidence of hair growth begins to appear when the fetus is approximately 9 weeks old. By 9 months, the human fetus already has every hair follicle he/she will ever have.

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9 thoughts on “First Signs Of Lupus

  1. Natasha G

    What were your first signs of Lupus?
    I havve red blotches under my eyes and my body
    gets sore for no reason..esp my anckles and hips

    is this a sign? im 31 and they are checking my
    ANA levels


    1. hello

      Personally, my first signs were rashes, fatigue, dizziness. I also have the sister to this disease, Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome. So I have alot of blood, blood vessel and CNS stuff happening. I really hope this isn’t what you have.

      Each person with lupus has slightly different symptoms that can range from mild to severe and may come and go over time. However, some of the most common symptoms of lupus include painful or swollen joints (arthritis), unexplained fever, and extreme fatigue. A characteristic red skin rash-the so-called butterfly or malar rash-may appear across the nose and cheeks. Rashes may also occur on the face and ears, upper arms, shoulders, chest, and hands. Because many people with lupus are sensitive to sunlight (called photosensitivity), skin rashes often first develop or worsen after sun exposure.

      Common Symptoms of Lupus

      -Painful or swollen joints and muscle pain
      -Unexplained fever
      -Red rashes, most commonly on the face
      -Chest pain upon deep breathing
      -Unusual loss of hair
      -Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
      -Sensitivity to the sun
      -Swelling (edema) in legs or around eyes
      -Mouth ulcers
      -Swollen glands
      -Extreme fatigue

      Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may come and go over time.

      Other symptoms of lupus include chest pain, hair loss, anemia (a decrease in red blood cells), mouth ulcers, and pale or purple fingers and toes from cold and stress. Some people also experience headaches, dizziness, depression, confusion, or seizures. New symptoms may continue to appear years after the initial diagnosis, and different symptoms can occur at different times. In some people with lupus, only one system of the body, such as the skin or joints, is affected. Other people experience symptoms in many parts of their body. Just how seriously a body system is affected varies from person to person. The following systems in the body also can be affected by lupus.

      -Kidneys: Inflammation of the kidneys (nephritis) can impair their ability to get rid of waste products and other toxins from the body effectively. There is usually no pain associated with kidney involvement, although some patients may notice swelling in their ankles. Most often, the only indication of kidney disease is an abnormal urine or blood test. Because the kidneys are so important to overall health, lupus affecting the kidneys generally requires intensive drug treatment to prevent permanent damage.
      -Lungs: Some people with lupus develop pleuritis, an inflammation of the lining of the chest cavity that causes chest pain, particularly with breathing. Patients with lupus also may get pneumonia.
      -Central nervous system: In some patients, lupus affects the brain or central nervous system. This can cause headaches, dizziness, memory disturbances, vision problems, seizures, stroke, or changes in behavior.
      -Blood vessels: Blood vessels may become inflamed (vasculitis), affecting the way blood circulates through the body. The inflammation may be mild and may not require treatment or may be severe and require immediate attention.
      -Blood: People with lupus may develop anemia, leukopenia (a decreased number of white blood cells), or thrombocytopenia (a decrease in the number of platelets in the blood, which assist in clotting). Some people with lupus may have an increased risk for blood clots.
      -Heart: In some people with lupus, inflammation can occur in the heart itself (myocarditis and endocarditis) or the membrane that surrounds it (pericarditis), causing chest pains or other symptoms. Lupus can also increase the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

  2. Tsunade

    My mom is sick?
    my mom is sick she couldn’t go to work today and shes the kind that never misses work because shes a dog groomer.
    Shes really cold
    i felt her forehead and now i have 2nd degree burns
    shes sneezing and coughing
    she has body aches
    runny nose
    and i was looking online and some of these symptoms are the first signs of lupus and im really scared because her mom has lupus so please help me out

    1. calyx156

      It could be a cold, but it truly sounds more like the flu, ie the body aches and fever symptoms and the rapid, intense onset. The common cold does not usually include these symptoms, especially the fever part. The best things I know for flu are these: Oscillococcinum, a homeopathic remedy for flu sold in pharmacies and is WONDERFUL!; homemade chicken soup with lots of garlic, parsley, chives and dill, and hot, light liquids, in fact any liquids are good and necessary; all the fresh fruits, vegetables and their juices that she can or will eat are prime nutrition for her right now; hot/warm teas; lots and lots of rest.

      Homeopathic Aconite is excellent for emergent illnesses (ones that come on very quickly), but only give this within the first 48 hrs. of an illness and just until the symptoms change. Echinaecea, goldenseal, astragalus, schizandra, osha, maitake, usnea tinctures (and many, many others) would all be helpful, tho’ as this sounds like a heat condition, echinaecea and astragalus would not necessarily be my first choices without knowing your mother and her symptoms better, as they aggravate heat conditions (can make them worse). I have found homeopathic remedies to be extremely helpful in shortening the length and intensity of flus.

      Gelsemium can also be an extremely beneficial remedy for illnesses with a summer onset. Put her to bed. Bring her lots of juices and soups and drinks to keep her strength up and to keep her hydrated, and encourage her not to get up and do anything until she truly has turned the corner and feels completely better. Overdoing it too soon tends to make viruses and their sequelae much worse. They can even recur if one does not listen to one’s body, rather than one’s mind and does too much, too soon.

      Do NOT give her aspirin w/ fever as this can cause Reye’s Syndrome, a potentially fatal complication. I would recommend NOT trying to squelch her fever in any way, as it is a beneficial and necessary immune response. (She’s roasting those little virus guys, which is just what you want her body to do.)

      Good luck! PS What a lovely kid you are to care so much about your mom! You don’t say your age, but pls. remember it is not your responsibility to make medical decisions for an adult, it is your mom’s and your dad’s (if he’s in the picture) responsibility. The only time this would fall to you is if she is incapacitated in some way and then you would call 911 immediately. It sounds like you are taking a lot of responsibility at a very young age. Is there an adult relative you could call to help you?

  3. dede

    How serious is Lupus during pregnancy?
    My daughter had preclampsia with her first pregnancy. She is approximately 9 wks. along and is showing signs of the condition already. Last week her doctor told her that current symptoms she is having all point to the possibility of Lupus. He ran some test, and said depending on the test results may decide to hospitalize her for a few days for further testing and begin a treatment plan. I am terribly worried for my daughter and her unborn baby. Just wondered if anyone out their has experienced somewhat the same, and looking for some feedback. Thank you in advance.

    1. Faerie

      Don’t worry. Lupus rarely affects the baby of a woman who has it, but it isn’t nice at all for the mother. Often women contract Lupus whilst pregnant or after they’ve had a baby, as Lupus is often triggered by this. I once knew a woman who had her Lupus at its very worse after she had her first baby. I’ve known 2 women with it, and the second one was so exhausted she spent most of a year in a wheelchair. But Lupus is rarely fatal nowadays, and it’s not disfiguring. They usually use steroids to treat it. (I’m not talking about illegal drugs, I’m talking about medical drugs that have nothing to do with muscle building). Lupus can range in severity. Your daughter’s baby will be fine.

      I’m not going to guarantee you that everything, including the baby, will be ship-shape and fine and dandy, but it is VERY likely. I know the woman above gave you some bad news about premature or ill babies, but the truth is, the two women I know have had 2 or more babies, all completely normal and healthy. Seriously. Not trying to make you feel better. Have a little faith, dear:) Good luck xxx

  4. DrasticGame

    Do you think I have lupus?
    I don’t mean to be self-diagnosing or anything- I’m not a doctor, certainly- but I’ve been wondering something. I’m 16 and was diagnosed with epilepsy 4 months ago after 2 consecutive seizures. However, I have no familial history of epilepsy, and my EEG didn’t show any signs of epilepsy, but my neurologist said that sometimes that happens. I’ve been on medication which controls the seizures and the medication doesn’t have any bad side effects, which is good.

    But recently I’ve had lower back pain that seems consistent with kidney problems. I’ve always had really bad mouth sores, like canker sores, that I get all the time- once a month or so. My joints, especially shoulders and hips, have been painful sometimes, particularly in the morning when I wake up. My skin is also sensitive to light, and in the past few days I’ve had a rash across the bridge of my nose and onto my cheeks.

    But I’ve been Googling this rash and trying to figure out what the heck it is- and found that it’s called a butterfly rash, and it’s a sign of lupus. And that light sensitivity, mouth sores, joint pain, kidney disease, and seizures are all signs of lupus as well.

    However, when I was screened for epilepsy, I had a lot of bloodwork done, including some of the tests that may indicate lupus- and it all came back normal.

    So do you think my doctor was wrong? Do you think I have lupus, not epilepsy? Especially since lupus has been known to be misdiagnosed at first, I thought I should find out. I’m going to the doctor soon, but I wanted to know for now what YOU thought. Thanks!

    1. Amanda

      Given the timing, I’d say it sounds closer to a reaction with your medication. I’d check with your neuro and make an appt to a rheumatologist as well just to be sure.

  5. queen b

    I broke my ankle in 2004, now all of a sudden it hurts. It hurts to touch and its swollen, but I can walk.?
    I haven’t hit my ankle or anything and it’s not raining or anything. In 2008 I was diagnosed with Lupus… I’m 34 years old, weigh 115lbs. I’m suppose to have severe arthritis but I don’t have it at all… I was thinking that this may be my first sign, but maybe not because i would think that it would be both ankles instead of one?

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