Alopecia areata is a condition that results in hair loss in patches. The patches might connect and become more noticeable. This hair loss happens when your immune system attacks the hair follicles resulting in hair loss. It is widespread and affects several people. If you are of any ethnicity, sex, or age, you can be affected by alopecia. It might start in childhood or adulthood. However, it occurs differently for each person. Keep reading this post to learn more regarding alopecia areata.
Alopecia Areata Causes
If the hair loss involves losing hair all over your body, the condition is called alopecia Universalis. Alopecia areata might affect your scalp, eyebrow, eyelashes, face, and other body parts. It can as well come slowly and recur after years between instances.
When your hair grows again, you might lose it similarly. The amount of hair loss and regrowth is separate from person to person. Alopecia areata currently has no cure, but there are some things you should keep in mind regarding this condition and your appearance. Based on the National Areata Foundation, hair loss does not become a lifelong situation. This means that the hair follicles are alive, and you can always regrow them.
Several treatments are used to regrow your hair back quickly and prevent hair loss in the future. Also, there are unique ways to cover up bald spots. You will also get resources to help you cope with stress resulting from this hair loss condition.
Alopecia is an autoimmune condition. And it occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. The resistance protects your body from foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria. But in the case of alopecia areata, your immune attacks hair follicles which are the structures from where the hair grows. The hair follicles become thinner and stop producing hair, leading to hair loss.
Researchers do not know what exactly leads to this condition. but there are some identified risk factors which include the following;
- Having particular health issues like Down’s syndrome, thyroid disease, or vitiligo
- Lack of vitamin D
Study Data on Race and Ethnicity
Alopecia areata condition does not affect populations equally. Some suggestions suggest Asians are at a lower risk than white females. According to some studies, for instance, African American and Hispanic females have a more considerable lifetime of the situation than white females.
However, only a few studies have shown the pattern and determinants of this condition, and pathophysiological factors are mainly unexplored. More research will be needed to consider environmental, behavioral, genetics, socioeconomic, and access to healthcare.
Symptoms of Alopecia Areata
Hair loss is the leading symptom of alopecia areata. Hair typically falls in patches on your scalp. The patches often are centimeters or less. It might affect several body parts, including eyebrows, eyelashes, and the beard. You might lose your hair in a few areas of your body while others fail in several places.
Also, you might notice clumps of hair on your pillow or in the shower. Suppose the spots are on the back of your scalp. Someone might inform you. But other health conditions ad you have noted above can cause this condition. Hair loss alone is not used in diagnosing alopecia areata.
Rarely you might experience extreme hair loss. But this typically shows another type of alopecia referred to as alopecia totalis. This affects your scalp. And alopecia Universalis, which affects the whole body.
Doctors might not use the two terms since people tend o experience hair loss in the two conditions. For example, you can lose hair on your arms, legs, and scalp and not your chest. Hair loss resulting from alopecia is usually unpredictable. And according to the doctors, it is spontaneous. Your hair might grow back at any moment and might fall again. The extent of hair loss differs based on the individual.
Alopecia Areata Diagnosis
Typically, doctors can diagnose alopecia by observing the symptoms. For instance, they might check on the extent of hair loss and will examine the hair from the affected sites using a microscope. If they are unable to make the diagnosis in the first clinical examination, they will perform a biopsy. Suppose they need to rule out other autoimmune issues. They will need a blood test. The symptoms of alopecia are typically distinctive, and therefore, making a diagnosis is usually quick and direct.
Alopecia areata does not currently have a cure yet. It is not medically serious, but it tends to affect you psychologically. Suppose you suffer from this condition, and there are support groups to help you deal with the psychological effects of the disease. You will also find more information on the National Alopecia Areata Foundation website.