Male pattern baldness, hair loss – whatever term you use, this condition can be of great concern to many people, especially when the baldness progresses to an advanced stage. Some individuals may not be overly concerned about measuring the level of hair loss but there is a scale by which you can get an idea how your situation compares to others. If you haven’t made use of this scale up to this point, you should know that it can help determine future hair loss and can provide important information for making decisions on a treatment plan.
Norwood Scale: Baldness Severity Levels
You’ll find seven distinct stages of balding defined on the Norwood Scale. It’s been recognized as the measurement standard for androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness (MPB), a condition that’s the source for more than 90% of hair loss in the male population. It’s estimated that about 65% to 70% of men will have some degree of hair loss by age 35. This percentage increases to 85% by age 50. Many of the men who have MPB began to lose hair before they reached the age of 21.
Viewing the scale after seeing evidence of hair loss can be helpful if you’re considering some form of hair restoration. The scale was first developed when a doctor named James Hamilton classified baldness in stages more than 60 years ago. In the mid-1970s, a man named Norwood revised the scale by adding a few subtypes to further distinguish the progression of MPB. Providing information about your specific condition is made easier when you have to communicate with a hair-restoration practitioner or physician.
Type I – The first level of male pattern baldness is this, which shows minimal hair loss.
Type II – This stage shows a small amount of loss in the area of the temples.
Type III – Most followers of the scale believe that this is the earliest stage requiring treatment.
Type III Vertex – In this additional stage, men experience receding hairline and thinning hair at the vertex (crown of the scalp).
Type IV – The pattern grows on the vertex and at the hairline.
Type V – In this stage, the patterns just mentioned are larger but there is still a thin line of division.
Type VI – This “bridge” disappears, with just a few strands of fine hair remaining.
Type VII – This is the most severe hair loss stage with very little hair at the top of the head or in front.
If you see a visual graph or images, you may see one or two additional sub-stages, depending on how the artist depicts the condition. But the seven mentioned, along with the vertex addition, can provide sufficient information for treatment purposes.
In direct association with these stages, it’s important to note that many people in society who do not suffer from significant hair loss believe that this isn’t a serious problem. Yet most men who experience MPB are very unhappy with the situation and will take any reasonable step to make a change. Men can suffer in a professional setting and in their personal relationships when hair loss becomes evident. Some individuals even change their careers when they begin to see significant loss.
Reliable Information Sources
Groups and organizations such as the American Hair Loss Association and others understand how difficult this condition can be. Rather than getting your information (or misinformation) from commercials, phone books, and other marketing sources, you might want to be selective about where your knowledge comes from. As with any other medical condition or personal concern, it’s essential to get objective answers to your questions.
One place to begin is with the few products clinically proven to stop hair loss or prevent it in the early stages. It’s possible that you might work with a specially trained surgeon who can perform successful hair restoration. But you must first determine if you’re actually suffering MPB or if your hair loss is caused by serious disease, stress, or reaction to a medication.
In almost all cases, baldness is caused by MPB because men inherit hair follicles that are sensitive to dihydrotestosterone or DHT. Your hair follicles are sensitive to DHT, causing them to reduce in size and shortening the life of each individual follicle. At some point, they stop producing hair that would otherwise cover your scalp. As you may have noticed when reading about the Norwood scale, MPB generally appears as a receding hairline and a thinning crown because the hair follicles in these areas are particularly sensitive to DHT.
Making a Change
Now, in the 21st century, there are methods for making a change in your male pattern baldness. You’ll always be best served by doing your research on effective, proven methods that address the MPB problem at the root (literally). Because the condition is caused by hair follicles sensitive to DHT (a by-product of testosterone) and DHT shrinks hair follicles, focusing on suppressing this natural chemical and stopping the process that miniaturizes follicles is essential.
Proper intervention during this process can be effective if started early enough. Close inspection of the scalp, along with a survey that indicates the presence of hair loss in previous generations of your family, is more than important. Specific products used to inhibit follicle reduction along with improvements in surgical restoration means that you no longer have to “just live with” hair loss. It’s now possible to stop or slow the process and replace hair with natural results.
Thanks to improved technology and broad knowledge of MPB, you can use the Norwood Scale with the help of a reliable professional to specify your stage of baldness and take steps to address this difficult condition. If you’re one of the many individuals frustrated and concerned about hair loss, start learning more now so you can plan for some form of hair restoration. Use all the information that you can gather about your specific stage and your goal so it’s easier to communicate with a hair-restoration professional. Successful treatment of male-pattern baldness and hair loss depends on intervening early in the process. Begin treatment with an effective product or method as soon as you see evidence of hair loss.