Alopecia areata is a disease of hair origin that affects the hair follicles, causing progressive hair loss, leaving many bald areas. In this condition, the hair falls out in clumps, leaving round shapes. Although it can affect different parts of the hair on the body, it is more evident and striking when it does so in the area of the head.
Alopecia areata in statistical terms affects approximately one in every thousand people, and the curiosity is that six out of ten people affected by this disease turn out to be young people under 20 years of age, with incidence in both sexes but with a certain predilection for women, even in very good general health.
In the following FastlyHealarticle, we will explain everything about alopecia areata: causes and treatment , so that you know how it can affect you and what you should do to overcome it.
Table of Contents
Symptoms of alopecia areata
Alopecia areata has a number of very distinctive characteristics that differentiate it from other types of baldness. In this case, alopecia aerata is distinguished by the following symptoms:
- Patches or plates without hair, round or oval in different sizes.
- Sometimes absolute baldness.
- Very weak hair, that is, it can be easily pulled out into strands.
- Ivory-colored skin in the area where hair has fallen out
Sometimes there are also changes in the fingernails. For example, they can become more brittle, thicken, or suffer from pitted nails. All of this leads to what is called nail dystrophy.
On the other hand, hair loss can sometimes be accompanied by a sensation of itching or itching that, when scratched, produces redness in the area, which could be a psychosomatic consequence of anxiety and / or stress in the individual.
What are the causes of alopecia areata
Despite enormous scientific advances in the field of medicine and health, the exact cause of alopecia areata is still not known today . Professional specialists in the areas involved, such as dermatologists and specialists in allergies and the immune system, consider that the origin of this condition may be related to the presence of genes.that predispose these people to react with an autoimmune mechanism, that is, the blood cells of the person’s own immune system turn against the same organism, in this case specifically against the hair follicles of the scalp. This causes them to decrease in size, slow down normal growth and the hair to become thinner and weaker, causing them to eventually fall out.
There are specialists who believe that at the origin of alopecia areata there could be some traumatic event or of great importance in the life of the person that can generate an emotional or psychoneuroendocrine response.
Diagnosis of alopecia areata
To reach the diagnosis of alopecia areata, it is necessary to visit a health professional for an interview and physical examination that includes the whole body, emphasizing the areas where the hair follicles are located.
It is also very likely that the doctor will take a sample from the patient’s hair and another from the scalp for a biopsy .
A blood sample will also be required to perform certain specific tests that help us to know the patient’s health status, especially the endocrine system, such as thyroid hormones that could participate in the symptoms described. Also in the serum of the blood will proceed to look for the presence of cells of the immune system that collaborate with the autoimmune theory of this disease.
Is alopecia areata cured?
The million dollar question among alopecia areata sufferers is: Will my hair grow back? The answer to this as to many situations in medicine is difficult to answer. In many patients, there is the possibility of recovering the hair in quantity, length, strength and quality, however, we cannot guarantee that this will be the case, since there are other factors that must be taken into account:
- When it appears at a very young age.
- Alopecia areata prolonged in time.
- Presence of severe forms such as total alopecia, which implies the loss of all the hair of the scalp and universal alopecia, which means absolute loss of all the hair on the patient’s body.
- Eczema, with redness, itching, burning and peeling of the skin in the bald area.
- Persistence of the vital situation causing intense emotional stress.
Treatment for alopecia areata
Although there is no cure for alopecia areata, it is likely that the entire spontaneous hair loss will recover in a relatively short time. For refractory cases that do not tend to resolve on their own, there are some therapeutic regimens that can be used to help the evolutionary course of the disease, however, the efficacy they may have on the pathology is not known exactly. Among the treatments that are usually used:
- Corticosteroids : steroids or corticosteroids in this case of local application in the affected area by means of a puncture with their deposit immediately below the skin of the scalp, would help to improve symptoms since they contribute to control and suppress the immune system that it is believed to be involved in the production of alopecia.
- Topical application of hair growth stimulating lotions used in other types of alopecia such as baldness.
- Protection from UV rays and avoiding sun exposure helps to improve irritating symptoms in the bald area.
- A beneficial effect of psychotherapy has been proven , referred by the doctor to a specialist in the field of psychology that helps a lot to the emotional liberation of the patient and to express all the anguish and discomfort that this situation produces.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.