What is male-pattern baldness?

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Updated: 4/11/2007 5:47 pm
Male-pattern baldness is a genetically determined condition, which results in a predictable pattern of hair loss. The scientific name for pattern baldness is androgenetic alopecia (ANN-droe-jih-NET-ick al-oh-PEE-shuh). Most hair loss is due to this condition. It typically begins with a receding hairline, and a thinning of hair on the crown. Eventually, you may be left with only a ring of hair on the sides and back of your head. The cause of hair loss is a substance known as 'DHT,' which your body creates from the male hormone, androgen (ANN-droe-jin). Excess levels of DHT can cause hair follicles to thin, and finally die out; at this point, hair stops growing. Currently, there are two medications that may stabilize hair loss in certain patients, or even assist in partial re-growth of hair. One is a topical solution called minoxidil (min-OX-ih-dil); the other is a pill called finasteride (fih-NAS-ter-ide). However, these medicines don't work for everyone, and if they're discontinued, the new growth will fall out. To find out more about male-pattern baldness, consult a healthcare professional.
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