What We Measure- the Laboratory Work Up for Hair Loss

Thyroid Testing includes measuring FT4, TT4, TSH, FT3, rT3,

and Thyroid antibodies.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of the neck. It produces hormones that regulate many processes throughout the body. Hair loss is rarely the only sign of a thyroid problem. Healthy thyroid hormone levels additionally control your energy, weight and cholesterol levels making this evaluation equally important for your overall health. Dr. Ruthie Harper is listed as one of the “Top 10 Thyroid Doctors in Texas”. A complete evaluation of your thyroid is critical for healthy hair.

Free and Total Testosterone levels

Testosterone is a common cause of hair loss in men. It is equally important to measure in women since certain women will be sensitive to androgenic/male hormones as a cause of hair loss. The free form of testosterone must be measured to evaluate the amount of free testosterone specifically present at the hair follicle effecting hair loss.

DHEA Sulfate

This is an additional source of androgenic/male hormones. See testosterone above.

Androstenedione

This is an additional source of androgenic/male hormones. See testosterone above.

Prolactin

An abnormally high level of prolactin (hyperprolactinemia) is a condition characterized by elevated serum levels of the hormone prolactin in non-pregnant individuals. Hyperprolactinemia may cause progressive hair loss by indirectly increasing free testosterone levels. Additionally, Prolactin delays hair regrowth. Elevated levels of Prolactin can result from Prolactin secreting tumors, hypothyroidism, antidepressant medications, stress, or PCOS.

Ferritin, Iron TIBC, % Saturation and CBC (complete blood count)

Iron deficiency even without anemia can cause hair loss making its evaluation an important part of a hair loss program. Iron should not be given without a complete evaluation of levels since iron supplementation can lead to a very dangerous condition called iron overload which can damage the liver and other vital organs.

VDRL

Although uncommon, evaluation with a VDRL rules out sexually transmitted causes for hair loss.

Zinc Challenge

Zinc is a critical mineral which contributes to the strength and growth of hair. Zinc as well as other mineral deficiencies will lead to weakening and breakage of hair and slow hair growth. Zinc also maintains the oil-secreting glands that are attached to your hair follicles creating the moisture and nutrients for healthy hair growth.

CRP

CRP is a marker of inflammation in the human body. Inflammation has been found to be associated with many serious disorders, including cardiovascular disease, asthma, arthritis, cancer, and diabetes, but most recently is has been associated with hair loss. Several published medical studies have now shown that inflammation is present in androgenetic alopecia as well as alopecia areata. The need to measure CRP address inflammation if it is present is critical to any successful hair loss treatment program.

Autoimmune work up

An autoimmune disorder occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune disorders affecting various aspect of health. The most common autoimmune condition causing hair loss is alopecia areata. However, any autoimmune condition in the body can cause hair loss, making its evaluation important for a comprehensive hair restoration program.

Genetic testing

A recent study with a different perspective showed that gene alterations with DNA methylation at the MTHFR gene 677T and other genes involved with the methylation process were linked with autoimmune hair loss. Methylation defects may affect up to 45 percent of the population or nearly one out of every two individuals.

Identifying this genetic alteration information opens the doors to a far deeper understanding. It provides powerful possibilities with nutritional support. Obtaining a genetic profile from 23 and Me allows us to input your genetic information into a specially designed program that helps us to further customize your hair loss program based on your genetic blueprint.

Iodine level

Iodine helps limit excessive estrogen in both men and women that can alter your sex steroid hormones that cause you to lose hair.

Pregnenolone

Pregnenolone is a master hormone that is capable of converting into many hormones including DHEA, testosterone, estradiol, dihydrotestosterone and progesterone all of which influence hair growth and the potential for hair loss.

Estrogen (Estradiol)

Predominantly a female hormone, but also present in the male body, estrogen in its various forms including estrone, estradiol and estriol all influence normal hair growth and retention. The amount, form and balance of this hormone are all critical for a full healthy head of hair.

Sudden drops is estrogen levels after childbirth or during menopause can cause sudden hair loss.

Progesterone

Predominantly a female hormone, but also present in the male body, estrogen in its various forms including estrone, estradiol and estriol all influence normal hair growth and retention. The amount, form and balance of this hormone are all critical for a healthy head of hair.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)

DHT, a derivative of testosterone, is the enemy of hair follicles on your head and is the cause of androgenetic alopecia in both men and women. DHT damages sensitive hair follicles, leading to thinning and then total loss of the follicle itself. Under normal conditions, women have a minute amount of testosterone compared to men, but even a small of DHT can trigger follicle damage in the sensitive individual.

Fasting Serum Insulin Levels

Elevated levels of insulin have been associated with androgenetic alopecia as well as blood sugar related hair loss.

Vitamin D levels

Studies have shown that low levels of Vitamin D may be associated with hair loss. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin creating the risk of toxicity if taken in too large an amount. For this reason Vitamin D should be administered only after blood levels are established and should be monitored throughout therapy.

Minerals Testing- (Selenium, Magnesium, etc)

Mineral deficiencies can cause hair loss as well as causing dull, limp hair. Hair, like the rest of the cells in your body, needs certain minerals to function and stay healthy.

Examination

Hair pull

Scalp evaluation

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