Alopecia Areata is a type of hair loss that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles, which is where the hair growth begins. The damage to the follicle is usually not permanent. Experts do not know why the immune system attacks the follicles. Signs of Alopecia: patchy hair loss, “exclamation mark” hairs, widespread hair loss, and nail problems.
Who gets Alopecia Areata?
People can have this type of hair loss at any stage. It often begins in childhood. Some patients with alopecia have a family member who also has a disease.
What causes Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune means that the body’s immune system attacks the body. When alopecia Areata develops, the body attacks its own hair follicles. A person’s genetic makeup, combined with other factors, triggers this form of hair loss.
Treatments for Alopecia Areata:
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for alopecia areata, although there are some forms of treatment that can be suggested by doctors to help hair re-grow more quickly. The most common form of alopecia areata treatment is the use of corticosteroids, powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can suppress the immune system. These can be administered through local injections (most common), topical ointment application, or orally.
Other medications that can be prescribed that either promote hair growth or affect the immune system include Minoxidil, Anthralin, SADBE, and DPCP. Although some of these may help with the re-growth of hair, they cannot prevent the formation of new bald patches. Some people turn to alternative treatment methods such as acupuncture and aromatherapy, although there is little, if any, evidence to support these treatments.
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