Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune disorder (which means the immune system mistakes the normal cells n the body as foreign invaders and attacks them). That often results in unpredictable hair loss. What “triggers the immune system to attack healthy hair follicles is still not clear. The condition can affect anyone regardless of age and gender, though most cases occur before the age of 30.
Alopecia areata often develops suddenly, over the course of just a few days. Sometimes, it can lead to the complete loss of hair on the scalp (alopecia totalis) or, in extreme cases, the entire body (alopecia universalis).
Hair falls out in small patches around the size of a quarter. For most people, the hair loss is nothing more than a few patches, though in some cases it can be more extreme.
Alopecia areata does not directly make people sick, nor is it contagious. It can, however, be difficult to adapt to emotionally. For many people, alopecia areata is a traumatic disease that warrants treatment addressing the emotional aspect of hair loss, as well as the hair loss itself.
The condition occurs when white blood cells attack the cells in hair follicles, causing them to shrink and dramatically slow down hair production. It is unknown precisely what causes the body’s immune system to target hair follicles in this way.
The most prominent symptom of alopecia areata is patchy hair loss. Coin-sized patches of hair begin to fall out, mainly from the scalp. Any site of hair growth may be affected, though, including the beard and eyelashes.
The loss of hair can be sudden, developing in just a few days or over a period of a few weeks. There may be itching or burning in the area before hair loss. The hair follicles are not destroyed and so hair can re-grow if the inflammation of the follicles subsides.
Three well known types of Alopecia areata are –
- Alopecia areata patchy – The most common form, with one or more coin sized hairless patches on the scalp or other areas of the body.
- Alopecia Totalis – Total loss of the hair on the scalp.
- Alopecia Universalis –Complete hair loss on the scalp, face and body.
Currently, there is no cure for alopecia areata. But the good news is that even when your disease is “active,” your hair follicles remain alive. This means that your hair can grow back again — even after a long period of time and even if you have more than 50% hair loss.
Depending on the type of alopecia, age of the patient and the extent of hair loss treatment options are available to disrupt or distract the immune system from attacking the hair follicle. The most common form of alopecia areata treatment is the use of corticosteroids, powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can suppress the immune system. These are mostly commonly administered through local injections, topical ointment application, or orally.
Also follow these carefully –
- Wear sunscreen if exposed to the sun.
- Wear wrap around glasses to protect the eyes from the sun and debris which the eyebrows and eyelashes would normally defend against.
- Use head wear such as hats, wigs, and scarves to protect the head from the sun or keep it warm.
- Use ointment inside the nose to keep membranes moist and to protect against organisms that are normally trapped by nostril hair.
For more information please visit www.cosmodermclinic.com