If you think that there could be a reason other than balding for your hair loss you may wish to make a routine appointment to see your GP. However it is worth bearing in mind that their main role is to recognise and treat illnesses, and they only have limited time. People with hair loss tend to be well, so GPs may not consider this to be a priority that they need to deal with. However if you are experiencing hair loss and other symptoms such as tiredness, joint pains, hair growth or hair loss in areas other than your scalp a GP may request routine screening blood tests checking for anaemia, kidney function and thyroid function. It is also worth asking your GP to check your ferritin levels as low levels can be associated with hair thinning. In this country people with darker skin are also more likely to be deficient in vitamin D because of the absence of sunshine, so it is worth checking that this is included in the blood test as there has been a relationship noted between low levels of vitamin D and some hair loss conditions. The GP is also in an ideal position to take samples from the scalp if a condition such as scalp ringworm is suspected.
Unfortunately hair loss has traditionally been viewed as a cosmetic concern by General Practitioners who generally receive very little training before they qualify. A survey by the Kings Fund published in 2013 indicated that the majority of GPs receive less than one week’s training in skin conditions before they qualify – so even less in hair. This can sometimes be a lost opportunity for picking up some health conditions because hair loss can sometimes signify an underlying disease process such as lupus or nutritional deficiency.