Alopecia areata is a hair loss
disease characterized by the loss of scalp hair in well-defined
circular patches. This type of hair
loss disease is classified as an autoimmune disease. Auto immune
diseases are caused by the attack of the individual's immune system
on some parts of the body, in this case - the hair
follicles - thereby causing them to fall out. The main cause
for alopecia areata is generally unknown; however, for people who
are genetically predisposed to alopecia areata, any environmental
or viral trigger may cause the attack on the follicles.
Alopecia areata is also associated with other diseases such as
diabetes, vitiligo, pernicious anemia, and some types of thyroid
diseases. This type of hair disease affects one out of every
100 people; individuals who suffer from alopecia areata are generally
healthy and may not need any type of blood test or additional medical
This type of hair loss disease affects individuals of any sex, age and ethnic backgrounds and may start manifesting during childhood. If anyone in your family has this disease, it may also mean that you are at risk of developing it.
In majority of cases, alopecia areata dos not go beyond a few bald areas; however, complete baldness known as alopecia areata totalis, and the complete loss of hair all over the body (alopecia areata universalis) has been known to occur. Dents and pits in the fingernails may also occur in rare occasions due to this disease.
Alopecia areata comes in two forms the mild form that involves the loss
of less than 50% of the hair on the scalp, and the more sever form
which involves the loss of greater than 50% of the hair.
In alopecia areata, hair follicles are not damaged so hair loss is not permanent. A short course using cortisone and other cortisone type drug may stop further hair loss and bring back hair that was lost. This course of action may be temporary as the discontinuance of cortisone use will bring hair loss back again. Doctors may prescribe cortisone pills or injections. Other types of treatment for alopecia areata involve the application of chemicals such as minoxidil, of which Rogaine is a popular brand, and propecia.
Propecia and Alopecia Areata
Propecia, also known as Finasteride, is a drug developed as a treatment for mild and moderate cases of male pattern baldness occurring on top of the head and in the middle front of the head. The drug is meant to be used by men only and should not be used by women and children. The use of finasteride has been shown to decrease the loss of hair from the crown in more than 85% of patients. The drug has also shown effects, increasing the growth of hair on the crown for more than 65% of its users.
Propecia works by preventing the conversion of testosterone, the male hormone, to dihydrotestosteron or DHT. DHT is involved in the loss of hair such as that in alopecia areata. Anyone who uses propecia may need to use the drug on a daily basis for periods of longer than three months before seeing any kind of result; however, if usage reaches twelve months without any visible results, it is unlikely that the use of propecia will provide you any real benefits.
The use of propecia in treating alopecia areata can have varying results, but generally, the use of the drug may allow individuals to grow back all the hair they have lost.