Alopecia Areata – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

March 19 21:13 2019 Print This Article

Alopecia areata is a form of hair loss from areas of the body, usually from the scalp. Because it causes bald spots on the head, especially in the first stages, it is sometimes called spot baldness. It can occur at any age and effects around 1% of the population, most commonly children. Some people develop only a few bare patches that regrow hair within a year. In others, extensive patchy loss occurs, and in few, all the scalp hair is lost referred as alopecia totalis or hair is lost from the entire scalp and body referred as alopecia universalis. The scalp is the most affected area also the beard or any hair site can be affected alone or together with the scalp. However, it’s not life threatening, but can be psychologically traumatic. The cause of alopecia areata is unknown, although in some cases, alopecia areata has been associated with autoimmune diseases.

Alopecia means hair loss. It is defined as a autoimmune disorders or condition in which round patches of hair loss appear suddenly and can affect any hair-bearing area. The reason alopecia areata occurs is not completely known. Alopecia areata is not contagious and is not caused by any food. Like many other health problems, it sometimes starts after a stressful event, but this is not usually the case. In children, alopecia areata may occur more often, or more severely if the child has eczema. In adults it is known that the patient or the relatives are slightly more likely to show other auto-immune conditions than is the general population. There are three stages: first, there is sudden hair loss, then the patches of hair loss enlarge, and last, new hair grows back. This process takes months, sometimes more than a year, but rarely does the hair never grow back.

Causes of Alopecia Areata

Find common causes and risk factors of Alopecia Areata:

  • The cause of alopecia areata is unknown.
  • Stress may be the cause of Alopecia Areata but it is rarely observed.
  • Exact cause of why the hair follicles undergo these changes is not known, but it is considered to be genetically passed or triggered.
  • Alopecia areata sometimes runs in families.
  • Alopecia areata is not contagious, not caused by foods, and is not the result of nervousness.
  • Alopecia areata is thought to be an autoimmune disease in which the body mistakenly treats its hair follicles as foreign tissue and suppresses or stops hair growth.

Signs and Symptoms of Alopecia Areata

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

  • The hair stops growing and then falls out from the roots.
  • The nails are affected in about 1 in 5 cases and become pitted or ridged.
  • Some people become self-conscious, anxious or distressed by the appearance of the hair loss.
  • Sometimes several small bald patches develop and merge into a larger bald area.

Treatment for Alopecia Areata

Treatment may include:

  • Injections of steroids directly into hairless patches on the scalp and sometimes the brow and beard areas are effectively in increases the hair growth in most people.
  • Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs has similarity to a hormone called cortisol produced in the body.
  • Some patients of alopecia areata respond well to drugs that promote hair regrowth, containing minoxidil and finasteride.
  • A sulfa drug, is used as a treatment for different autoimmune disorders.
  • Ultraviolet light therapy.
  • 5% topical minoxidil (Rogaine).
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