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Hair loss, blood pressure

Created date

January 24th, 2012

Q.I m an 81-year-old woman who has always had a beautiful head of hair. Recently, however, I notice that it is falling out and that my scalp is very dry. What can I do?

A.As you age, the rate of hair growth slows, some follicles stop producing hair, and the hair strands themselves may become thinner. Certain medications can contribute to dry scalp and hair loss as can thyroid problems or dietary deficiencies such as a lack of protein, vitamins, or minerals. ' First, see your doctor for a medical evaluation to determine a cause. To minimize hair loss, wash it no more than twice a week, use a gentle shampoo, minimize the use of styling and coloring products, and avoid heated styling tools that may weaken the hair shaft.

Q.I have high blood pressure and my doctor says I need to cut down on salt. I am finding it very hard to do so because I crave it so much.

A.High blood pressure is a serious condition that can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney problems and other medical conditions. You need to use every available strategy to control it. ' Restricting salt (sodium) in your diet is important because salt causes your body to retain fluid, which can contribute to or worsen high blood pressure. Research from the National Heart Blood and Lung Institute showed that eating no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day actually lowers blood pressure in many people. Try gradually reducing your salt over a period of weeks to let your taste buds adjust, and experiment with spices and other flavorings (such as lemon juice) in your food. Read all food labels for sodium content. Also ask your doctor to recommend a dietitian to help individualize a low-sodium meal plan for you. 

Mark Samuelson, M.D.,  

Medical Director, Ponds  

Hingham, Mass.

Dr. Samuelson received his bachelor s degree in pharmacy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston, Mass., and his master s degree in biology from the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, Conn. He received his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in family practice at Tufts University in Malden, Mass. Samuelson is board certified in Family Medicine and has a fellowship in geriatric pharmacy. He joined Linden Ponds in January 2006.