Laboratory Tests

 

Abstract:

  • Blood tests may be required to achieve an accurate diagnosis of hair loss in more complicated cases of hair loss.
  • This set of comprehensive blood tests will aid the doctor to correct any medical conditions or nutritional deficits
  • Some blood tests need to be done pre-hair transplantation to check for infectious diseases in the blood e.g. HIV

Why Would I Need Blood Tests To Diagnose My Hair Loss Condition?

The hair follicle is an incredibly complicated organ. Multiple medical conditions and nutritional or metabolic abnormalities can cause hair loss. Apart from thorough clinical history taking and examination, sometimes, blood tests are prescribed to rule out other hair loss causes.

This is usually the case when there is no clear genetic history, no obvious dietary disturbances or when conventional medical treatment has failed to give rise to a sufficient effect.

What Blood Tests Would Usually Be Performed?

  • Full blood count
  • Erythrocyte sedimentary rate (ESR)
  • Ferritin
  • Zinc / Copper ratio
  • Anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA)
  • Rheumatoid factor (RhF)
  • Thyroid function tests
  • Vitamin D assay
  • Vitamins B12 and folate

If DHT And Cortisol Are One Of The Main Causes Of Hair Loss, Why Are These Not Included In The Blood Tests?

There has been no correlation found between blood levels of DHT and cortisol and hair loss. In fact, the levels of these 2 hormones vary across the day e.g. cortisol levels are highest in the early morning and get lower throughout the day.

Circulating DHT will also not affect hair follicles that are not genetically ‘programmed’ to be DHT susceptible, for example those at the back of the head (the donor area). Hence, in such scenarios, a clinical examination would be a sufficient test to diagnose male or female pattern hair loss / androgenetic alopecia.

What Other Blood Tests Might Be Performed?

If you are planned for a hair transplant procedure, additional tests may include:

  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV

This is to establish any blood borne transmissible illness for additional surgical precautions.

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