Alopecia areata is
a hair loss disease
often characterized by the loss of hair on the scalp. This hair loss
occurs in well-defined circular patches and is classified as an autoimmune
disease. An auto immune disease is brought about by the attack of
a persons immune system on parts of his body, which in this case are
the hair follicles thus causing hair
to fall out.
The main cause for alopecia areata is unknown; and anyone male or female, whatever
age and ethnic background can be affected by this disease; however,
there are people who are more inclined to get this disease compared
to others because of their genes. Anyone who has members of their
family suffering from alopecia areata run a higher risk of contracting
the disease compared to everyone else.
For people who are genetically predisposed to alopecia areata, any trigger from his environment or a certain type of virus may cause the immune system to start attacking the hair follicles. One should keep in mind that the occurrence of alopecia areata may also be attributed to the presence of other diseases such as vitiligio, pernicious anemia, diabetes, and some forms of thyroid diseases. Occurring in one out of every hundred individuals, alopecia areata is a common type of hair loss disease.
Signs and symptoms of alopecia
Common signs and symptoms of alopecia involve hair loss, baldness, temporary and patchy hair loss.
- Hair loss may be due to other possible causes, so it is best
to consult a doctor regarding the symptoms. Some other causes
of hair loss may be male
pattern and female pattern baldness, hereditary baldness,
normal aging, menopause,
nervous hair pulling, post partum hormonal changes, high and chronic
- Baldness is the loss of hair on the scalp and may be brought about by
other causes aside from alopecia areata.
Symptoms of Alopecia areata
The foremost symptom of alopecia areata is the circular bald patches that occur on the scalp. Alopecia areata can start manifesting in young children, late adolescents, and sometimes adults. Patches of hair loss can occur in different areas of the skin where hair grows such as the eyebrows, beards, eyelashes, and other areas of the body as well. Affected individuals can feel occasional mild itching, tenderness, tingling and even a burning sensation in areas affected by alopecia areata. The hair near the scalp may appear tapered; and pits, dents, and other abnormalities may also occur in the fingernails of people affected by the disease.
Alopecia areata generally starts with small, round, bare patches about the size of a coin. Although not painful, alopecia areata presents with itching and minor discomfort that only occurs when a new bald patch develops. The hair loss that occurs in alopecia areata can be followed by the regrowth of hair with a chance of the condition never occurring again.
The different symptoms of alopecia may also be brought about by the onset of other diseases, so it is best to consult a doctor and have tests done in order to get the best possible diagnosis.