Alopecia areata is "a common condition of undetermined etiology characterized by circumscribed, nonscarring, usually asymmetric areas of baldness on the scalp, eyebrows, and bearded portion of the face." In the majority of cases, hair falls out in small patches.
For most people, the hair loss is nothing more than a few patches, though in some cases it be more extreme. Sometimes, it can lead to the complete loss of hair on the scalp (alopecia totalis) or the entire body (alopecia universalis).
In this problem, the period of hair loss can vary person to person. Some people get their hair back in months, while for some, it may last years long.
What causes Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata is considered an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system, which is designed to protect the body from foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria, mistakenly attacks the hair. This can lead to hair loss on the scalp and elsewhere.
Other risks from Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia Areata does not only cause hair problems, but it also puts people at the risk of other problems:
- Other autoimmune diseases.
- Asthma and allergies, atopic dermatitis, eczema ,nasal allergies.
What are the chances that my child will inherit it from me if i am suffering from it ?
This condition can affect anyone from any age group. It often starts in childhood. However, having a blood relative with alopecia Areata can increase the risk of getting affected by this disease. Alopecia areata is not like some genetic disease in which a child has a 50–50 chance of developing the disease if one parent has it. Scientists believe that there may be a number of genes that predispose certain people to the disease. It is highly unlikely that a child would inherit all of the genes needed to predispose him or her to the disease.
Signs of alopecia areata ?
There are many signs that tell you the arrival of alopecia areata. Some of the major are:
- Patchy hair loss: The problem of alopecia areata often begins with one or more coin sized patches on your head.
- Watch your nails: The patients of alopecia areata can also see some changes in their nail. Most of the times, in the form of white patch or dot, nail changes are signs of this problem.
Treatment of alopecia Areata ?
Cases that do not respond to oral and topical medications, like Corticosteroids, Minoxidil and Immunosuppressive Medicines used to suppress the immune system and initiate hair growth, may require monthly injections of corticosteroids under expert supervision. The main goals of treatment are to block the immune system attack and/or stimulate the regrowth of hair.