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Help for this woman -- Hair and Nail loss
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Questions in the Thyroid forum are answered by Mark Lupo, MD. Topics covered include Goiter, Graves Disease, Hyperthyroid, Parathyroid/Calcium Problems, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroid Nodules/Cysts, Thyroiditis, Thyroid & Pregnancy, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Thyroid Tests, and Thyroid Surgery.

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Help for this woman -- Hair and Nail loss

Hi all,

I work for a Women's Health Web site called and a woman sent in a video of herself talking about hair and nail loss. Someone in our office suggested it might by thyroid related. Can you watch and give me your thoughts? We'd really like to help her out.

Thanks all!
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The above response is pretty thorough regarding the thyroid evaluation -- certainly worth testing.  However, the most common casue of hair loss is stress. Other medical things to test would be testosterone, DHEA, blood counts, iron (ferritin) stores and a good dermatology evaluation -- especially if there are patches of hair loss, not just generalized hair thinning.

I have watched the video. It is apparent to me, that she is suffering (physically and/or pschologically-I'd wager both). It can be seen in her eyes and underneath them.
The question could be asked, which came first? Hair loss is normal, we shed over 100 hairs daily but I gather from her video that she went well beyond normal hair loss. Finger nail loss or raising off the beds (in absense of injury) isn't normal.

She deserves a full thyroid examination, both physical (neck exam-for which she can do herself:
and thyroid blood labs: TSH, Free T3, Free T4 and antibodies: TPO (thyroid peroxidase antibodies) and TgAb (thyroglobulin antibodies). Afterwards, she needs a copy of those labs. They will contain her values, as well as reference range.

Outside of thyroid, I am aware of a condition (no doubt, there probably are more) that cause nail beds to raise/fall off (outside injury) but I fail to remember the medical cause.

In the off-chance that she deals with any future doctor who is reluctant to run blood tests, she can have this done on her own (out of pocket) via:

Clicking on "view locations" will reveal labs nearby.
I went this route because my [then] doctor wouldn't look into matters, despite advice here.
The advice I found here and thanks to healthcheckusa (not requiring doctors orders) revealed a problem. The labs are legitimate. I went to Lab One-the very lab my doctor office uses when we need to ship labs out.
I used code 12345 to take 10% off my order. Shipping (lab request, that she will give the lab tech and the mailing lab results) is $12. if I remember correctly.

That said, I think she needs copies of her lab work for her own records.

Best of luck to you and the woman you are trying to help (kudos for looking out for her).


I hope you have read the responses. I think Dr.Mark Lupo gave additional, sound/great advice.

I completely agree, a dermatologist is in order. A good one is worth their weight in gold. Too, a very good one is aware that systemic conditions can/does affect skin.
Both hair and nails are within the field of a dermatologist.

In watching the video, she stated she was seen at W.U. If she resides in Washington State, I would recommend (highly) that she see Dr. Marvin Young (Seattle, Wa)-Dermatologist. He is a blessing and in every way.
I am not someone who is easily pleased-I know a "sharp shooter" when I see one. He's one of them.
He is an older gent (60s) and very involved in his field. He also keeps close ties to like-minded peers/further educational instruction, which add to his knowledge base.
That said, he understands concerns (his wife is a breast cancer survivor) and appreciates questions (he and his wife have/are on that end) and appears to enjoy being challenged.
His goal is towards the patient and getting it right-I think. He spends considerable time with each patient (for which, I think is wonderful) and with that (if you are a patient)- expect it and expect to enter into the exam room late (on account of it). A patient of his, will not walk out of his office without a clear, broad understanding.

If she's in the area, I highly recommend him. If you want to know specifics (his phone number) contact me off-list. I will contact our doctor's office for his number, if she/you are interested.


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