Many people don’t really look to their hair to check if they may be suffering from health problems. But just like our nails, our hair can also give some clues about our well being and health.

Dull, Dry and Thin Hair

dry-hairIf you notice that your once thick and shiny hair has now become thin and limp, try to remember what you’ve been doing to your mane lately. Have you been swimming in the pool a lot lately? Have you dyed your hair? These things may remove the shine in your hair and make it dry and limp. However, dry hair can also be caused by an underactive thyroid, a condition known as hypothyroidism.

With hypothyroidism, your thyroid is not producing enough hormones so your body’s metabolism slows down. You will gain weight even if you are still eating the same amount of food as before, you will feel tired easily and you’ll lose some of your hair. If you notice these symptoms, make sure you speak with your doctor so your thyroid levels can be checked.

Thick, Scaly Dandruff

dandruff2Dandruff is somewhat common and it can be easily treated with a special anti dandruff shampoo. However, if your condition is getting worse and you start to notice thick scaly patches in your hair, it could mean you have a condition known as psoriasis, an anti immune disease in which the process of skin cell turnover is done at very fast speeds. This is especially likely if you are suffering from Crohn’s disease or multiple sclerosis.

Extreme Hair Loss

hair-loss-300x233On average, a person loses about 100 strands of hair per day (it’s true!). Just count the hair on your hairbrush if you’re in doubt. So this is quite normal. However, if you notice sudden hair thinning at an alarming rate, it could be because you are stressed. If that’s not the case and you also don’t have a thyroid problem, you may have a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS, which is another hormonal imbalance. If you have extreme hair loss, you should speak with a medical doctor so the problem can be evaluated and the proper treatment will be given.

Brittle Hair

brittle-hair_aBrittle hair may be brought about by excessive use of harmful chemicals on the hair or because of frequent use of heat tools for styling hair. However, if you have very dry, brittle hair that’s very prone to breakage, it may be because you don’t have enough protein in your diet. The hair is composed of keratin, a type of protein so if you don’t have enough protein in your diet, it will lead to weak, brittle hair.

Other Indicators of Potential Problems

Aside from what has been mentioned above, people also suffer from hair loss if they are consuming high levels of mercury from fish especially sushi, 5x a week. Fish is generally safe and does not cause mercury poisoning however some types of fish like mackerel and swordfish of high mercury content which means that eating them frequently can be harmful.

Sugar is another culprit for hair problems. Too much sugar causes your glucose levels to rise, which in turn, increases your androgen levels causing hair follicles to shrink. Starchy white pastas and breads cause similar reactions as well.
On the other hand, consuming too much vitamin A may also trigger hair loss. Vitamins are good for the body but when taken in excess can pose problems.

Finally, if you notice white flecks in your nails it could mean that your body is lacking in iron and zinc. When this happens, your body will not be able to produce keratin which is needed by your hair resulting in hair loss.

People (especially women) are very particular about the health of their hair. But while it’s very important to keep the hair is in excellent condition by eating the right foods and using safe hair products, if you notice some changes in your hair that are not caused by your styling products and tools, it may be a good time to see your doctor so that they can determine if there is an underlying health problem.