Your Hair Say About Your Health

If your hair is having more bad days than it is good days, your locks might be trying to tell you something; The condition of your hair can be an important indicator of your health. Read on to learn about five medical conditions that can cause more than just hair loss.

Dry Hair

If your hair is dry and brittle

It could be Cushing's syndrome

Dry hair may just mean time to change shampoos or stay away from heat styling, but if you've been on medication for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis or an autoimmune disease for some time, Glucocorticosteroids may be the culprit. Glucocorticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that are sometimes used to treat these conditions and mimic the hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol in the body can lead to the development of a disorder called Cushing's syndrome, which can cause weight gain, bone pain, and muscle weakness. Symptoms of Cushing's syndrome vary, but dry, brittle hair is a possible sign.

Thinning Hair

If your hair is…thinning

It could be…hypothyroidism

Forget late-night infomercials promising miracle cures. If you have thinning hair, the first thing you should do is call your healthcare provider. Thinning of hair is a symptom of an underactive thyroid. Women are more likely to develop hypothyroidism than men, and people over 60 are particularly at risk. Weight gain, fatigue, and chills are other symptoms of hypothyroidism, so if you notice any of these symptoms along with thinning hair, get your thyroid checked.


If your hair is…falling out

It could be…iron deficiency

Hair loss is normal. In fact, the average person loses 50 to 100 hairs per day. But if you're shedding excessively, ask your healthcare provider to check your iron. Iron is a major component of oxygen-rich blood, which your hair needs to grow. When you don't have enough iron, your hair can stop growing and falling out. The best source of iron is meat; Beef contains the highest levels of iron, but poultry, pork, fish and shellfish are also good sources. Vegetarians can meet their daily iron needs by eating beans or spinach. Remember to talk to your healthcare provider before starting iron supplementation.


If you're constantly removing tiny white flakes from your shoulders, you may have seborrheic dermatitis, a common cause of dandruff. Researchers aren't sure what causes dandruff, but it's thought to be a combination of problems with hormones, the immune system, the nervous system, and nutrition. To get rid of dandruff, wash your hair twice a week with a dandruff-fighting shampoo if you're white or Asian, and once a week if you're African-American.

Itchy Scalp

If your hair is…itchy

It could be…scalp psoriasis

You may not be able to see scalp psoriasis, but you can definitely feel it. If you are scratching your head often and with little relief, you may have scalp psoriasis. Psoriasis usually looks like scaly, silvery patches. About half of all people with psoriasis also have it on their scalp. Tar shampoos, shampoos containing menthol, steroid creams and oral antihistamines can all relieve itching.

Hair Care Tips

Here are seven tips for keeping your hair healthy:

1. Wash oily hair once a day and dry hair less often

2. Shampoo Your Scalp, But Only Condition Your Tips

3. Wear a shower cap in the pool to avoid chlorine damage

4. Skip the blow dryer and curling iron, and don't brush your hair while it's wet

5. Wear loose hair; Don't pull it back into a tight ponytail, bun or cornrows

6. Try to extend the time between coloring sessions in winter

7. Ease of brushing - you don't need 100 strokes a day

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