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Is Male Baldness Hereditary?

The medical term for hair loss is alopecia. The most common type is known as androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness.

Going bald is a fact of life for millions of men. Adults lose about 10,000 scalp hairs each and every day. Hair normally lives for around five years. With male pattern baldness these hairs do not always get replaced and gradually bald areas appear. This process can however take a long time and the age at which you start to lose hair does not necessarily provide any clues as to how long it will be until you define yourself as bald.

Most men are genetically predisposed to male pattern baldness. It is the effect of hormones on the hair follicle that produces male pattern baldness. Testosterone, a hormone that is present in high levels in males after puberty, is converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. DHT has an adverse affect on the hair follicles. Acting on a hormone receptor on the hair follicle it slows down hair production and produces weak, shorter hair, sometimes it stops hair growth from the follicle completely. This process gradually depletes your stock of hair and is normal hair loss.

It is not inevitable that you will go bald but keep in mind that about 95% of male hair loss from the scalp is due to your inheritance.