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If you're over 20 and your hair is starting to thin, the culprit is probably hidden in your family tree. Approximately 95 percent of men and 70 percent of women with thinning hair can attribute it to a hereditary condition called Androgenetic Alopecia. Hereditary hair loss affects all ethnicities and can be inherited from either the mother's or father's side of the family. Because baldness is determined by a number of genetic factors, it may or may not skip generations.
Marked by a progressive miniaturization of hair follicles, hereditary hair loss is caused by a shortening of the hair's growth cycle. As the growth phase shortens, the hair becomes thinner and shorter until, eventually, there is no growth at all.
Male-pattern and female-pattern androgenetic alopecia are not only very common, they are very treatable. Both surgical and medical hair loss treatments have high rates of success. One treatment involves applying a lotion, minoxidil, to the scalp twice a day. Another hair loss treatment for men is a daily pill containing finasteride, a drug that blocks the formation of the active male hormone in the hair follicle.
Because hereditary hair loss is gradual, the sooner treatment is started, the better the chances of results. Checking your family tree to see if you have a possible genetic predisposition to hair loss might help you recognize the symptoms early enough to slow the progression.
Tracing Your Family Health History
Determining Your Ancestry Through DNA