Alopecia Areata Definition, Reason, Symptom, Treatment, Prevention

Alopecia Areata Definition, Reason, Symptom, Treatment, Prevention

Alopecia Areata Definition

Alopecia areata is one of the most common types of baldness. This disease causes hair loss in one area, then leaves patches that resemble one or more patches on the head. However, alopecia areata does not only occur on the scalp. This loss disorder can occur in other areas of the body.

Hair loss occurs when the immune system attacks the hair follicles. In rare cases, alopecia areata can even become alopecia Universalis or complete hair loss and prevent hair from growing back.

Baldness disorder can affect both women and men. Usually occurs in adults in the age range of 30 to 60 years. Alopecia areata is different from other hair loss, for example due to discontinuation of hormonal contraceptive use or due to pregnancy or the puerperium.

Alopecia areata also has many other names, such as alopecia celsi, alopecia cicatrisata, and alopecia circumsripta.

Alopecia Areata Reason

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. That is, disorders arise due to the actions of the body’s own immune system. The immune system in people with alopecia areata acts abnormally and attacks the hair follicles themselves. As a result, the hair follicles shrink and stop producing hair. Hair loss occurs.

The cause of this misdirected immune system action is still unknown. However, it often occurs in families with a history of other autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, lupus, vitiligo, and ulcerative colitis. Possibly, alopecia areata is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Alopecia Areata Diagnosis

The doctor will determine the diagnosis of alopecia areata from the symptoms and physical examination of hair loss. Some hairs will also be examined under a microscope. Several additional tests may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

A scalp biopsy by taking a small amount of the scalp can be done to rule out other possible causes of hair loss such as fungal infection or tinea capitis. Blood tests can be done to confirm the presence of autoimmune diseases such as antinuclear antibodies, CRP, iron levels, thyroid hormone, testosterone, FSH ( follicle stimulating hormone ), and LH ( luteinizing hormone ).

Alopecia Areata Symptoms  

The main symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss. Usually, sufferers initially notice hair loss on the pillow or in the bathroom. Hair loss generally resembles tiny islands on the scalp that are a few centimeters or smaller in size.

Hair loss can also occur in other areas of the body. Loss of hair can grow back and fall out again. The severity also varies from individual to individual.

Alopecia Areata Treatment

In most patients, alopecia areata will improve on its own without specific treatment within a year. However, in some cases, baldness can be permanent. Until now there is no medicine that can cure alopecia areata. Treatment usually aims to help hair grow faster and prevent future hair loss.

Medically, doctors can give treatment using minoxidil to stimulate hair growth. Other options include steroid injections or the use of corticosteroid creams or shampoos.

Photochemotherapy can also be done to increase hair growth. Photochemotherapy uses a combination of ultraviolet radiation therapy and oral medications. Response to treatment will vary from patient to patient. Some people even need a combination of several types of medication.

Other alternative therapies are also available such as aromatherapy, acupuncture, use of herbs and vitamins. These alternative action therapies are usually not clinically proven so their effectiveness cannot be ascertained and may vary from person to person.

To be more comfortable with daily activities, sufferers can also do the following ways:

  • Use sunscreen on hair loss skin to prevent sunburn
  • wear protective goggles to protect the eyes if the eyelashes fall out
  • use wigs, hats, or head coverings to protect the scalp

Alopecia Areata Prevention

Until now there is also no known way to prevent alopecia areata. Managing emotional stress properly can help prevent problems or aid in recovery. Know more about Alopecia Areata with Medical Centric

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