Having male pattern baldness (MPHL) or as we say it in the medical terminology: androgenetic alopecia(AGA)? Having male pattern baldness WITHOUT a family member having baldness? Are you the ONLY ONE in the family with sparse hair?
That’s a bummer isn’t it? All of us know that we inherit traits from our parents. We also know that the male pattern hair loss is considered strongly genetic... and by genetic we ‘assume’ it ‘runs in the family’. But then why are we still seeing so many young men with male pattern baldness without anyone else in the family suffering from it? That is the question that I intend to answer.
- Genetic means: Relating to origin, or ‘arising from a common origin’
- Heredity means: The passing on of a physical or mental characteristically genetically from one generation to another (through genes).
So, all heredity conditions are genetic... but all genetic conditions do not necessarily mean they are heredity! A genetic trait could have started from your own self or inherited from your parents or even grandparents.
Now I am going to get into the details a little more.
Now let me add to this the meaning of polygenic inheritance! Oh you needn’t be confused. It simply means ‘multiple genes which are inherited’. So MPHL is known to show polygenic inheritance where these multiple genes determine the
- age of onset of the baldness
- progression of baldness
- patterning of baldness
- severity of the baldness
Didn’t think it was this complex eh? Well, it is... and therefore just because no one in your family has baldness, doesn’t mean you will not develop it.
Let me explain a bit more (warning: it can a little boring!)
So, here is also what you also need to know: The first published genetic link with MPHL was the discovery of a marked association with a single-nucleopeptide polymorhphism (oh! DON’T get confused with the name... let’s call it SNP) in the AR gene.
But, here is the catch: This SNP is present in almost 100% of young and also in older balding men...and here is the suprise... it is also seen in significant proportion of older men UNAFFECTED BY BALDNESS!
Interesting isn't it? :)
This just proves, that despite being genetic/heredity, the baldness is being triggered by other factors too.
What are these other factors?
For those who have been consistently reading my ramble on my blog, they know what I am going to say next! But at the expense of sounding repetitive, I am going to quickly point out again for those new readers who haven’t yet gotten bored or confused with my ramble! (oh if you have read so far don’t stop yet!)
Excess androgens in the body hormone called the DHT acts on the hair and causes the MPHL. The commonest reason for this androgen surge is: an unhealthy lifestyle. Late nights, unhealthy eating habits and no exercise has become the norm of life for the majority of young men. Be it because of their jobs or be it their college life and zeal for party... it is this lifestyle that is leading to the dreaded androgen excess and this in turn is ‘triggering’ the SNP gene!
I always give this simple analogy to my patients... triggering your MPHL gene is like shooting a gun...once the gun fires can you bring back the same bullet into the gun? AAH! You can’t ! :) Once your MPHL gene is triggered you can’t ‘un’trigger it ever...
My question to you is: Since you now have an idea (if I haven’t confused you enough) about the genes that can get triggered : What are you going to do about it? Run to the dermatologist when the genes triggers or prevent it from triggering it in the first place?!
Happy healthy hair everyone!