Sunday, September 10, 2006

Alopecia, And More

Hair and nails are considered "skin appendages," and so fall under the domain of dermatology. For those of you with a full head of hair - be grateful! After seeing people with alopecia (hair loss) of different kinds, what is striking is the immense psychological impact affecting people with hair problems. This is clinically more apparent in women, perhaps because men are more likely to expect (and are expected to) to lose their hair with age. And male hair loss, even if earlier in life, is less often regarded by others as "something wrong." Whereas women, even though they may suffer from the same type of hair loss - yes, if your father, maternal grandfather, or brother was/is bald, you are at risk - the loss is difficult to accept for both the woman and for the people who see that woman.

There are a surprisingly large number of different causes of alopecia, all of which may cause different patterns of hair loss. One would think that a patch of baldness (e.g. alopecia areata) might be more difficult to accept than diffuse hair loss (e.g. telogen effluvium), which gives a thinning of the hair with no discrete area of baldness, but that's often not the case. There are women who you might have passed by at Starbuck's, and you would never have guessed that they were going to see a dermatologist for hair loss. These ladies may have lost quite a bit of hair with their condition, but because they were blessed with a thick head of hair, it's difficult to see the effect of the hair loss. Yet these women are absolutely beside themselves with anxiety about the hair loss. It makes one think about how unaware we are of all the things that go smoothly in life, and how we rarely appreciate "normal" until things go wrong. It also highlights the sad fact that we are more attached to ourselves and social expectations than we know. After all, there is no functional purpose of the hair on our head. We do all sorts of things to it to make ourselves more attractive, or use it to make a statement (think mohawk), but truly, it is an unecessary thing. Yet, were your or I to lose all our hair tomorrow, it would be a considerable shock to our sense of self. And the loss of hair may draw unwanted attention and speculation from mere strangers that we are not "well."


I've recently discovered local farmer's markets. Fresh fruit and veggies that were allowed to ripen before they were plucked. What took me so long?? Anyways, have found that I really like fresh tomatoes. Heirlooms, Early Girls, you name it - if it's fresh, chances are I'll love it. Peaches - HELLO! What have I been eating all my life? Certainly not this bite in and peach juice flowing out kind of fruit! Strawberries - could they be more fragrant? Beets - how are they so sweet? Could go on and on... if you can't get the "five servings" of fruits and vegetables a day, perhaps you too are suffering from chain supermarket's unripe, abnormally large but flavor-deprived produce syndrome. Get thee to a local farmer's market!

* picture of beautiful flower on the way back from the farmer's market... kind of looks like sea anemone :)


Blogger teni said...

Still reading your posts now and then :)

I just noticed your picture from Yellowstone last week. was just there in June!

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Moof said...

Re alopecia ... I hate dealing with my hair. If others were also doing it, I would shave it all off and paint my head with fancy, colorful designs!

Imagine! Bright blue, red and yellow paisleys!

I think that if I ever come to that crossroad, I will do exactly that in order to "make a statement!"

Hey! It would get some interesting reactions! >;o)

By the way, famer's markets are wonderful if you don't have your own garden. The downside is that once you get used to having veggies really fresh, winter seems very long indeed!

2:25 PM  
Blogger always learning said...

Hi Teni, Moof,

Teni - thanks for stopping by! Hope things are going well for you. Did you like Yellowstone? I hope you got there before the big fire that closed off part of it :)

Moof - I'm with you on the hair. I think blue, red and yellow paisleys would be fantastic! :) As for my own garden, I'm workin' on it. It's on my "to-do" list - something I'd love to have, but am pretty intimidated to start. I haven't the slightest clue when it comes to gardening. It seems things need to be planted at certain times, soil needs to be rich, how much water? And then there's the issue of bug control. I'm a pushover when it comes to that. We've got an apple tree in the backyard, and if there's a worm hole in it, I'll just leave it on the tree for Mr. Worm to eat/live in. Methinks my garden would probably end up as bug heaven, instead of on the dinner table :)

8:46 PM  

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