Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder and one of the reasons for baldness. It causes bald patches on the scalp, eyebrows and beard area. Although these are the major parts of the body where alopecia areata affects, it can cause patchy hair loss in other parts of the body as well.
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about alopecia areata because people are not well aware of this hair disease. Therefore, here we have provided insight about Alopecia areata to create awareness about the same.
What Causes Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is a result of an abnormal immune response to the normal functioning body cells. In this autoimmune disease, hair follicles get affected and start falling immediately. It leads to bald patches on limited areas of the scalp, eyebrows and beard area.
What are the different types of Alopecia Areata
There are three different types of Alopecia areata that depends upon the area of coverage. These are:
1. Alopecia areata patchy- This is the most common type of alopecia areata in which small or coin-sized hairless patches develop on the scalp or other parts of the body.
2. Alopecia totalis- In Alopecia totalis the entire scalp becomes bald.
3. Alopecia Universalis- This is the most severe case of Alopecia in which the entire scalp, face, and body lose the hair.
Are there any risks involved
The chances of occurrence of Alopecia areata are high in people who have at least one family member with the same disorder. It may occur anytime before or after 30 years of age.
People who are suffering from some other autoimmune disease like vitiligo, Down syndrome, pernicious anemia have higher chances of getting Alopecia areata. Other than these, stress is also one of the aggravating factors that can enhance the chances of this autoimmune disorder.
What are the symptoms of Alopecia Areata
There are no painful or highly perceptible symptoms of Alopecia areata. However, when the problem arises, there is an onset of a small, coin-sized patch of baldness on the scalp. As it grows in size, it will become noticeable. The bald area will be smooth with normal skin. There will be no burning sensation, itching or redness.
If alopecia areata becomes severe, it can take over the entire scalp and many times include eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard as well.
What is the treatment for Alopecia areata
The treatment of Alopecia areata depends on four major factors:
• Age of the patient
• Amount of hair loss
• Duration of hair loss
• Areas affected
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If the problem is limited to certain areas of the scalp, a series of corticosteroid injections are given on the bald patches. It suppresses the immune response and combats the issue to a great extent. However, if the issue is progressing rapidly, oral corticosteroids are effective to treat the problem.
In certain cases, topical treatment is also provided which include the application of:
• Growth promoters
It is essential to consult a specialized dermatologist of a well-reputed clinic as soon as you start noticing bald patches on the scalp.