Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Hair Loss Health Center

Font Size

Causes of Hair Loss: Diseases - Topic Overview

Diseases that can cause hair loss, thinning, or breakage include:

  • Lupus, in which hair tends to become brittle and may fall out in patches. Short, broken hairs ("lupus hairs") commonly appear above the forehead. Hair loss is usually not permanent. Some people with lupus also develop a form of lupus called discoid or cutaneous lupus that affects only the skin ("cutaneous" refers to skin). Scars that sometimes develop on the scalp may cause hair loss.
  • Thyroid problems, which are a common cause of scattered hair loss. Both an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause hair loss. Hair loss associated with thyroid disease can be reversed with proper treatment.
  • Cancer, such as Hodgkin's lymphoma.
  • An adult form of muscular dystrophy (myotonic dystrophy).
  • Diseases of the pituitary gland.
  • Heavy metal poisoning, such as thallium or arsenic poisoning.
  • A disease that causes inflammation and scar tissue throughout the body (sarcoidosis).
  • Late-stage syphilis.
  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection.
  • Any severe ongoing (chronic) illness.
1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 29, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Causes of Hair Loss: Diseases Topics

Today on WebMD

hair in hairbrush
Ways to go about it naturally.
Young woman with thick curly hair
Causes and solutions.
 
man with thinning hair
How to keep the hair you have.
Closeup of Hairbrush with Hair Loss
Understand the basics.
 
Mens Hair Loss When To Start Treatment
Article
A Dermatologist Talks About Hair Loss
Article
 
Rogaine And Propecia For Hair Loss
Article
Woman looking at thinning hair in hand mirror
Video
 
Balding man in mirror
Slideshow
Close up of comb in woman's hair
Quiz
 
Young woman with thick curly hair
Slideshow
hair problems
Slideshow