Understanding inflammation is important as the inflammatory process is involved in the overall health. When inflammation is out of balance, the effect on health and wellbeing can be highly disruptive, consequently, leading to major hairloss.
What is inflammation? The word inflammation comes from the Latin "inflammo," meaning "blaze, burn," and is defined in biology as the body's immune system's response to injuries.
Inflammation has many mechanisms: cellular, molecular (e.g., cytokines), vascular, microbiological (gut microbiome) and neural mechanisms.
Elevation of inflammatory markers in the body is generally disruptive for all body systems.
Adoption of an anti-inflammatory diet may enhance overall health and subsequently help in hair loss prevention. Anti-inflammatory diet is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, carbohydrates with low glycemic indices, plant bioactives, minerals and vitamins, and high amounts of dietary fiber.
So How to test for inflammation? what to look for when you have advanced hairloss case? There are Markers to test inflammation in the blood: ESR & CRP
The Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate ("sed rate" or ESR) reflects how fast red blood cells (RBC) fall to the bottom of a test tube filled with blood.
RBCs normally settle to the bottom slowly. Inflammation can cause these cells to cluster together, making them denser (heavier) than individual cells, thus settling to the bottom quicker.
The ESR is measured in mm/hour of sedimentation.
Some factors may contribute to inconsistencies in ESR levels, like age, sex, race, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, triglycerides, drugs such as steroids, and RBC size, shape and concentration. Normal ESR is 1-13mm/hr for men and 1-20 m/hr for women.
High ESR, indicates inflammatory disorder such as infections (tuberculosis, endocarditis), tissue injury/necrosis (acute myocardial infarction, surgery, burns), or acute or chronic inflammatory disorders (polymyalgia rheumatica/temporal arteritis, inflammatory bowel disease, gout), malignancy, connective tissue disease, infection, inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, venous ulcers, and kidney disease.
ALL above conditions can accelerate or cause hair loss.
Low ESR level indicates other disorders like polycythemia, disorders of erythrocytes such as sickle cell disease or hereditary spherocytosis, low fibrinogen levels, and severe liver disease
The second major inflammatory biomarker commonly used is C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
CRP has some advantages over ESR because it is a better measure of an acute-phase response and is also more sensitive than ESR.
CRP levels rise more quickly than ESR and are less affected by anemia, pregnancy, and elevated protein levels. Normal levels of CRP varies between one lab and another, but usually values are between 2 mg/L and 10 mg/L.
High levels of CRP are associated with infections (viral, bacterial, mucosal), obesity, insulin resistance, pancreatitis, oral contraceptives, chronic fatigue, mild alcohol consumption, depression, increasing age, trauma, and some cancers. High CRP, may be found in people under metabolic inflammatory states such as smoking, uremia, sleep disturbances, periodontal diseases, cardiac ischemia, and other noninfectious inflammatory conditions
During Scalp Analysis with your trichologist, we can determine if your hairloss is due to inflammation. Thus, we can customize a treatment regimen that target this inflammation. If your blood tests showed high rates of ESR or CRP, please call your trichologist and set an appointment sooner than later.