Everything you wanted to know about Alopecia Areata:
Are you worried about
hair fall? Did you see lots of hair on your pillow or hair brush? And hair
falls from a certain small area of head or beard, may be its not normal.
It might be a condition called Alopecia areata. Alopecia areata can cause hair fall in patches. The term alopecia is derived from two words, “alopecia” which means baldness and “areata” which means occurring in patches.
It is actually the immune disorder of hair follicles. The person with this condition will have coin shaped hair loss from head, face, eyebrows, eye lashes and other body parts. Hair loss starts from the scalp and leads to hair loss from eyelashes, eyebrows and other body parts.
Causes of Alopecia Areata
What can cause Alopecia areata? It's really a difficult question to answer. But let’s try. Alopecia areata is actually an autoimmune disorder. When immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, autoimmune condition develops.
Developing alopecia areata means that your immune system has mistakenly attacked hair follicles. It can cause hair follicles to become small and produce less or no hair, which can eventually cause hair loss. According to researchers the exact reason for this condition is still unknown. However, scientists suggest that genetics can be a cause. Those who have family history of rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes 1 are more prone to this condition.
Symptoms of Alopecia Areata:
Hair loss is the main symptom of alopecia areata. Hair falls out in small patches and are several centimeters. Hair loss starts from the scalp and leads to hair loss from eyelashes, eyebrows and other body parts. The loss of hair due to alopecia areata is really unpredictable. The lost hair can grow again but can also fall again.
Anyone can have alopecia areata. People with this condition may look healthy and does not have any medical issues. Stress and depression can also cause alopecia areata. Both men and women can have this condition but men are more likely to get this. Men with this condition can have hair loss from scalp, face, back, chest and other body parts. The hair can also be lost at once too. The hair follicle becomes small and leads to more hair loss. Children can also have alopecia areata. Most people can experience hair loss before 30’s. Alopecia areata have no effects on someone’s life expectancy.
Types of Alopecia:
There are several types of this condition and the type of alopecia areata varies from person to person. Each type may also has different treatment too. All types of alopecia are associated with hair loss and usuallu unpredictable hair loss. Following is the detail of types of alopecia areata:
Alopecia areata (patchy)
The main type of alopecia is the areata. It is most common among all other types. In this condition hair fall occurs in patches. The more frequent and excessive hair loss is generally referred to as alopecia areata. If this condition remains untreated, can lead to more severe conditions such as alopecia universalis and alopecia totalis. It is usually considered that there is no effective treatment for this condition but some injections and medications show positive results in order to cure this dermatological condition.
The loss of hair around the scalp (most likely entire scalp) is usually referred to as alopecia totalis. It is usually called the advanced form of alopecia areata. It is an unpredictable disease. It is a rare form of hair loss condition and it is near to impossible to treat this condition. But, hope never dies. Researchers are still finding ways to treat this condition.
The loss of facial hair specially eyebrows and eyelashes along with scalp is usually referred to as alopecia universalis. It’s more likely to lose hair from other body parts like chest, pubic hair and back.
Diffuse alopecia areata:
Diffuse alopecia areata is the thinning of hair from all the scalp, not only in the form of patches. It is a rare form of alopecia. It affects both men and women equally but women are more prone to it.
Hair loss from the circumference of head or nscalp is called ophiasis alopecia. Ophiasis alopecia is quite difficult to treat because it shows slow response to medications.
Diet and Alopecia:
People with alopecia should follow an anti inflammatory diet. Some foods like processed foods, alcohol, snacks and sugar should be avoided. Such foods can cause irritation and inflammation in the body. Anti inflammatory diet is specially designed to reduce inflammation and autoimmune response from the body. This results in the prevention of hair loss.
The main foods in this diet include blueberries, beets, nuts, lean meats and broccoli. You should take diet rich in omega 3 and 6. The foods that are rich in these components include flaxseeds, cord liver, fish oil, cauliflower and broccoli. Turmeric has anti septic and anti inflammatory effects. The use of turmeric in shampoo can reduce hair loss. Biotin supplements and onion juice are also recommended to increase hair growth and re-grow the lost hair.
Prevention and Treatment of Alopecia Areata:
There is cure to everything but you need to be focused. Same is the case with alopecia areata. It is usually thought that alopecia areata is not possible to treat because its causes are still unknown. But what’s harm in staying hopeful? It can be treated and hair can grow again. Following are the treatments for alopecia areata:
Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs to treat autoimmune conditions. These drugs involve injections in the scalp and ointments, creams, gels and lotions that can be rubbed on the skin.
Topical immunotherapy is the type of treatment that is given in severe conditions. When there is excessive hair loss, or hair falls more than once then immunotherapy is given at topical areas of the skin. In this treatments, chemicals that are used causes allergic reactions and these reactions give rise to the grow hair again. It can also cause rashes on the skin.
This treatment is a time taking one. It is mostly used for baldness and it takes 12 weeks to grow hair again. But, most of the users don’t experience good results.