August 10, 2009 10:16
Hair loss, once considered a problem only for middle-aged men, is now affecting a growing number of women in their 50s. According to a report on medical expenses released by the National Health Insurance Corporation on Sunday, the number of female hair-loss patients aged 50 years or older tripled from 5,713 in 2001 to 16,624 in 2008. The figure has increased steadily by 16.5 percent a year on average since 2001.
The total number of hair-loss patients climbed 60 percent from 103,000 in 2001 to 165,000 in 2008. Male patients totaled 85,000 last year, outnumbering female patients by 5,000, showing that the problem still afflicts more men than women.
"There are diverse causes for hair loss including hormonal imbalance, nutritional deficiency, side effects of drugs such as contraceptives, and physical and mental stress," said Cho Nam-joon, a professor of NHIC Ilsan hospital. "Now more people are exposed to these causes and thus hair-loss patients are increasing."
The growing number of hair-loss cases among older women is the result of not only hormonal changes resulting from menopause but also stress and fatigue, Cho said. He recommended that women experiencing hair loss eat a balanced diet and avoid stress.
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