Alopecia Areata – Types Causes and Treatments

Alopecia Areata – Types Causes and Treatments

Alopecia areata is a condition or disease where hair loss is experienced in some part of the epidermis, usually the scalp. It is an autoimmune disease where the body does not recognize itself and thus the nerve endings attack the hair follicle (the root of the hair that is responsible for hair growth). This in turn causes the loss of hair in that particular area of the skin, usually in round or oval shapes.

It is most common in children and teenagers but can occur at any part of one’s life regardless of their age. It is also important to take note of the fact that it is not contagious in any way, as the causes of this disease originate from one’s body. It, therefore, cannot be transmitted from one person to the other.

Different Types Of Alopecia Areata

 

There are different classifications of this disease, depending on the amount of hair loss and the extent of the affected epidermis. Therefore, in extreme cases , we have alopecia totalis, where hair loss over the entire scalp is experienced (occurs 1 in every 5 people that suffer from this condition) and alopecia universalis, where hair loss over the entire epidermis is experienced (occurs 1 in every 10 people with alopecia areata).

Other mild cases of this disease include alopecia areata monolocularis, where hair loss is experienced in one area of the scalp (a round or oval shaped patch) and alopecia areata multilocularis, where hair loss occurs in two or more round or oval patches around the scalp.

Other classifications of the disease include alopecia areata barbae, where hair loss is experienced in the beard in men and ophiasis, where the hair loss occurs on the scalp but takes a wave shape around the circumference of the head.

Causes Of Alopecia Areata

 

As mentioned earlier, alopecia areata is a relatively rare auto-immune condition which cause hair loss from various areas of the body. The hair loss occurs because the body becomes unable to recognize itself and it begins to destroy tissues as if they were an infection.

Research and occurrence tendencies have alluded to heredity being the main cause. There is a strong genetic association between the occurrence of this condition and family tires. There is an increased chance of occurrence of this disease where a family member is known to have suffered from the same disease.

Signs And Symptoms Of Alopecia Areata

Signs and symptoms of this disease include the occurrence of small patches of baldness on the scalp or any other part of the body. The exposed skin remains near normal and is not scared, although the bald patches are usually sensitive and painful in some cases. Hair round the bald patches tends to pull out easily, as it produces less resistance as compared to other regions of the head.

Hair loss in most cases may be experienced for a short while but after some time hair growth may occur, indicative of regression of the condition.

Alopecia Areata Treatment

 

Treatment of the condition in the less evasive occurrences of the condition entails just observing the progression of the condition. Since many times the condition regresses on its own, one should take treatment as an option on if the condition progresses.

However, there are corticosteroids injections and creams that do treat the condition.

Alopecia Definition | Main Types, Causes  And Treatment Guide

Alopecia Definition | Main Types, Causes And Treatment Guide

Alopecia Definition | Main Types, Causes And Treatment Guide

Alopecia is the medical term for acute hair loss and baldness. Despite alopecia being a very common disease among individuals worldwide, the technical term is not well-known and can provide images of a life-threatening illness. The truth is alopecia is just another name for hair loss and balding. It can be caused by a variety of physical and psychological factors and is found in both adults and children. Although more common in men, this condition is also experienced by women.

Main Types Of Alopecia

 

Androgenetic Alopecia

Traction Alopecia

While many individuals will view hair loss and baldness as a singular ailment, there are in fact several forms of hair loss. The most common type among women is traction alopecia. This form of hair loss and baldness is caused by a pulling of the scalp, which leads to a weakening of the hair root and follicle. This is more evident in women as women are more likely to undergo damaging hair treatments with the aim of attaining the latest hairstyle trend. Baldness among women is not necessarily caused by scalp damage, but may have a genetic element.

Alopecia areata

A second form of this ailment is alopecia areata, which refers to a patchy loss of hair. This is generally prevalent among older males and the hair loss is visible on both the head and body. Alopecia areata monolocularis means that the balding is visible in only one area; whereas alopecia totalis refers to hair loss in various areas. The monolocularis type can often progress to the experience of alopecia totalis.

Alopecia universalis

A third type of hair loss is known as alopecia universalis. This refers to a severe form of patchy balding and may result in the individual experiencing permanent hair loss on both the head and body. This will include eyebrows, eyelashes and pubic hair.

As you might imagine, for anyone experiencing alopecia, it is a distressing situation. Sticking out in society attracts gawkers, often who are negative, and make ignorant commentaries. There are many other people all over the world experiencing the same thing, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to deal with it for the rest of your life.

For a normal adult, hair is shed regularly at a rate of 20 to 100 strands per day. This should not cause any concern since a healthy body can grow back the lost hair. In a person with excessive hair loss, hair does not grow back as quickly as they are being shed. Thus, hair thinning and bald spots can be observed.

Alopecia is attributed to various causes. One or a combination of which may be a factor in extreme hair loss.

Alopecia Causes

 

It is best to start out your journey by understanding what is alopecia and why you are losing your hair.

Genetic factor

The leading reason for hair loss is simple genetics. In other words, genetics is to blame for men just barely out of their teens losing the hair from their scalp. The reason they lose their hair is now more deeply understood, which means more effective treatments are being devised.

It turns out the hair follicles are reactive to overproduction of testosterone rubbing against them. It causes shrinkage of the follicle, which forces the hair to fall out. Stop the body’s overproduction prevents hair loss.

Your genes play a huge role when it comes to hair thinning. If your father and grandfathers have had bald spots, the likelihood of experiencing the same thing is higher. While we can’t do anything about genes, there are different ways that you can do to help fight this condition and treat this as well (more on this later).

Hormones

Hormonal fluctuations may lead to body irregularities, which include abnormal weight and metabolism. Damaged cells do not get replaced as quickly as in a healthy person. To determine if hormonal imbalance occurs, a doctor may request for tests to be done. He or she will then prescribe hormonal replacements to replenish hormones in the body.

Medical Conditions and Medications

A medical condition may lead to another since every organ in the body somehow affects the rest of the organs. Sometimes, it is not directly the medical condition that causes the hair loss, but the medications used to treat the condition.

Some medications to treat arthritis, cancer depression, high blood pressure, heart problems, and for birth control may cause hair loss too. Even an overabundance of Vitamin A intake can cause hair loss too.

For example, in cancer patients, chemotherapy medications kill not just attack the rapidly growing cancer cells in the body, but also other normal rapidly growing cells. These include the patient’s hair follicles.

Allergies and Infections

Microorganisms can cause a number of skin conditions and can affect the rate of hair growth. Also, these affect the health of the hair follicles leading to brittle hair strands. The infection has to be addressed first prior to treating hair loss. Some over-the-counter anti-fungal solutions may be used to get rid of the microorganisms on the scalp.

Even infections, like ringworm, can lead to dry patches and temporary hair loss. Permanent hair loss may occur from lupus, sarcoidosis, and lichen planus.

Causes in Women

The most common cause of hair loss among females is continual hair pulling or scalp rubbing. This is generally seen among female adults who choose to engage in continuous dying of the hair and persistent hair styling. The common cause of hair loss among females and males (children and adult) is an emotional trauma or stress. The amount of stress experienced will determine the amount of hair loss and whether or not the hair loss is permanent.

Causes in Men

The most well known is the androgenetic form or genetic hair loss. This is most frequently seen among males from the age of 50 upwards and can be described as male pattern baldness. The hormones within the body will begin to alter and this can cause progressive hair loss if there is an insufficient level of testosterone or androsterone. Research has indicated that Caucasian men are more likely to develop progressive balding than any other ethnicity.

Alopecia Treatments

 

It is often thought that hair loss and baldness is irreversible and untreatable; however, this is not true. Many cases of hair loss have been treated using pharmaceutical medication such as topical minoxidil (5% for men, 2% for women) and oral finasteride (propecia) only for men.

As soon as the signs of alopecia are noticed, it is necessary to consult a medical professional in order to immediately address the condition and defining alopecia. Alopecia isn’t something that you should be ashamed of – it is a problem that has a solution. Take your time in finding which product works for you, or seek a professional’s advice to make sure you’re going the right route. Hair loss is not an all-hope is gone situation. Sometimes it just indicates some issues that need to be addressed. As a result, hair may grow back.

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