What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disorder. In this hair problem, hair loss often occurs in clumps the size and shape of a quarter. The amount of hair loss, though, varies from person to person. Some people lose hair from only a few spots, while others lose them from a wide area and even get completely bald. Moreover, in some people, hair grows back for good. But in some other individuals, hairs grow back but fall out again. Ultimately, they necessarily need to take hair transplant treatment.
Fast facts on Alopecia areata
Some key points of Alopecia areata are as follows:
- One in five people who suffer from this disease also has a family member who has experienced this condition before.
- In just a few days, this disease develops suddenly in a person.
- Moreover, according to some recent research, Alopecia areata can be caused by stress.
- People who have only a few small patches of hair loss get a full recovery without the need for hair transplant treatment.
- Alopecia areata is usually incurable.
Types of Alopecia
Alopecia Areata is typical in its primary form, but there are many other types of this hair condition. Some of these types are very rare.
Alopecia areata totalis
It is the condition when a person loses all the hair on his head.
Alopecia areata Universalis
It refers to the loss of hair from the whole body.
Diffuse alopecia areata
Rather than lost patches, there is a sudden thinning of hair in this condition.
Ophiasis alopecia areata
In this type of Alopecia, hair loss is in a band shape around the sides and back of the head.
Alopecia Areata Symptoms
The most common and significant sign of Alopecia Areata is hair loss. In addition, some other symptoms of this condition include:
- Small bald patches on the body parts and especially on the scalp
- After some time, small patches get more extensive and grow together into a bald spot
- Sometimes hair grow in one patch and fall out in another
- There is a lot of hair loss over a short period.
- During cold weather, there is more hair loss
- Toenails and fingernails become red, pitted, brittle, and many more.
Moreover, the bald patches of skin look smooth, with no redness or rash. But the patients feel itching and sometimes a burning sensation on their skin, especially right before the hair falls out.
Alopecia Causes and Risk Factors
The immune system attacks one’s own body during this particular autoimmune disease. It’s the hair follicles that are attacked during Alopecia areata. Skin specialists still don’t know the exact reason behind it still. But they think that it is a genetic disease. People who get it have something in their genes that makes it more likely to occur in them. Something is there in such patients which trigger hair loss.
However, a few significant factors that can stimulate the process of Alopecia Areata are as follows
- Pernicious Anemia
- Seasonal allergies
- Down Syndrome
- Thyroid problems
- A family member who already has it, and many more.
If you are suffering from Alopecia Areata, you should visit a reliable dermatologist or hair transplant surgeon. They will
- See your symptoms
- Take a close examination where you have hair loss.
- Moreover, in order to see if hair comes out easily, they pull your hair strands gently at the edges of a bald patch.
- They may check your nails also.
- Also, they can do a biopsy in some rare cases. In a biopsy, they take a small piece of skin from your scalp and check it under the microscope.
- Furthermore, the skin specialist may also test your skin for a fungal infection.
- Last but not least, they can perform blood tests of patients to check thyroid, hormones, or immune system problems.
This hair problem can’t be cured as it occurs due to a defect in normal genes. But with hair transplant treatment, lost hair can be grown back. If you are a sufferer, then here are many things you can try.
They are prescribed for autoimmune diseases and are anti-inflammatory drugs. With the help of injections, these drugs can be injected into the scalp or any other infected area. Sometimes dermatologists also suggest some pills for oral use. They may also recommend an ointment, cream, or foam for applying on the bald scalp. Generally, this disease may take a long time to recover.
This treatment is applied to areas where much hair loss happens more than once. In this hair treatment, special chemicals are used on the scalp, which causes some reactions. These reactions then help in growing hair back. However, these reactions can also cause itchy rashes sometimes. In general, this technique is repeated many times, which then helps in hair growth.
This treatment is applied for pattern baldness in the scalp region. You can see growth for about 12 weeks. However, due to its time taking procedure, sometimes people become disappointed.
Other treatments for Alopecia areata consist of medications used for other autoimmune disorders. These medicines also help in regrowing hair to some extent.
In addition to these medical treatments, you can try other things at home if you have alopecia areata. For protecting your head from the sun, wear hats and scarves. Additionally, try not to have stress because some kind of Alopecia like Telogen effluvium seem to trigger this disease.
Alopecia Areata outlook
It is not actually a serious issue, but it can cause a lot of anxiety and sadness in people. There are also support groups that help this kind of patient psychologically. Don’t lose hope if you lose hair. They can come back be medications and ointments. And if they are not, there are many other ways like hair transplant to cover your scalp and hair loss areas. Thus, if you have irregular hair loss, go to a skin specialist for a check-up as soon as possible.