I am writing about this condition because it is very rare and some people who don’t know about this issue tends to make fun of the patients with alopecia areata. I want to raise awareness regarding this issue and maybe reading this post from a compilation to the things that I have learned from various medical sites that I have visited may open our eyes to how unique this disease can be.
Alopecia areata or commonly know as Alopecia is a type of hair loss that happens when your immune system attacks hair follicles. Alopecia is not contagious and is not due to nerve problems but because the immune system attack hair follicles it causes hair fall. The hair can fall out from anywhere on the body. Though the damage is not permanent the experts do not know why the immune system is attacking the follicles. Alopecia areata is most common in people younger than 20 yeas old, but adults of any age can also get affected. Both gender is equally affected.
Alopecia areata can cause different types of hair loss. Each of these types has a different name:
- Alopecia areata (hair loss in patches).
- Alopecia totalis (lose all hair on the scalp).
- Alopecia universalis (lose all hair on the body).
WHO GETS ALOPECIA?
People of any age can have this type of hair loss which often begins in childhood. You are more like to get alopecia if you:
- Have a relative with the same condition.
- Have the condition at a young age (before puberty) or for longer than 1 year.
- Have another autoimmune disease. (because alopecia is an autoimmune disease)
- Are prone to allergies (atopy).
- Have extensive hair loss.
- Have abnormal color, shape, texture, or thickness of the fingernails or toenails.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Alopecia usually begins in small amount of hair falls and looks like a round, coin-size patches. It usually starts on the scalp but it eventually involves eyebrows, eyelashes, beards, and any hair bearing sites. The hair loss often comes and goes. Only 5-10% of people affected loses all of their hair on the scalp or body.
Hair usually grows back over several months but will fall out in another area. The new hair is usually of the same color and texture but it is sometimes fine and white. Hair loss may last for many years.
Alopecia can also affect fingernails and toenails. They can have dents, white spots, they can become thin and rough. Sometimes nail changes are the first sign of alopecia areata.
Alopecia areata is usually diagnosed through a medical history and physical examination. Sometimes a dermatologist can diagnose alopecia areata by examining the hair loss. He/she may pull out a few hairs and examine your scalp.
Sometimes they will perform a skin biopsy to confirm that the disease is alopecia areata. But since I am not an expert on this field I suggest you visit a dermatologist if ever you are having an excessive hair loss because it might be Alopecia. Prevention is better than cure you know.
As of now there is no cure to this disease yet but there are treatments wherein they help the hair -regrow more quickly. There are also other medicines given but I wont tackle them since I can’t fully explain their uses and purpose. AGAIN I suggest you consult to a dermatologist for a safer medication and much more detailed explanation of this condition.
If you feel embarrassed by the hair loss, you can hide the affected area by wearing a wig, hat, cap or scarf.
You can also join support groups in your area so that you won’t get depressed and you won’t have trouble dealing with the emotional effects of your condition because this might be a little rare and unique there are also other people who are experiencing the same things as you are. You need one another during these times since it is only you who can understand one another.
Now that at least we have an idea what this disease is let us not be naive and support those people who are suffering from any diseases because all of them needs our moral support and love. They need people whom they know they can run to and can count on. Let us love them for they need us. Thanks for reading and let me know in the comments if you know someone and send my love to them. Don’t forget to make them feel that though he/she lost his/her hair they are still beautiful and awesome. xoxo 🙂