When an individual starts showing gray hair, this doesn’t necessarily mean they have a serious medical condition. More often times than not, going gray is simply part of the aging process. Scientists haven’t been able to grasp the exact reasoning behind some people graying at an early age, but most studies suggest it’s largely due to genetics. If your mother, father, or grandparents’ hair started turning gray early in life, then chances are you are genetically designated for the same fate.
Reasons Behind Premature Graying
While heredity is the ultimate factor in determining a person’s susceptibility to premature graying hair, the following conditions have also been linked as contributors. A thorough physical examination by a family physician is the only method toward ruling out any opposing culprits.
1. Thyroid Disorders– When a person’s thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, this can cause hypothyroidism, and one side effect of this disorder is prematurely graying hair. Other side effects include fatigue, unexplained weight gain, dry skin, and brittle fingernails. A simple blood test is used to diagnose hypothyroidism and medication can be prescribed to help make up for the hormone your body doesn’t produce on its own.
2. Vitiligo– Portions of the hair and skin losing their pigment characterize this skin disease, and even though the cause is unknown, it could possibly stem from genetics, stress, or viral disorders. When hair follicles are depleted of pigment, they will turn white and result in a mane full of silver hair.
3. Vitamin B-12 Anemia– This disease is also known as pernicious anaemia and is caused by insufficient levels of vitamin B-12 in your system. One of the many symptoms of pernicious anaemia is gray hair. If left untreated, it can cause poor balance, nerve damage, depression, and even dementia in severe cases.
4. Other Medical Reasons– A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism indicates a link between premature gray hair and osteoporosis. Also, treatments for certain diseases, like chemotherapy and radiation for cancer, may cause hair to gray earlier in life than expected.
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