Alopecia areata: Hair loss with round, bald spots

Alopecia areata is a form of hair loss that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks hair roots. These start to ignite causing the hair to fall out in certain places. This is usually the case on the scalp but other body hair may have been affected. On the scalp, sharply defined perfectly bald patches develop, leading to total hair loss in severe cases. Usually a treatment is rather cautious because the hair starts to grow again after the inflammation is over. But if this is not the case, medicines and other therapies are available.

 

Epidemiology hair disease

Approximately 0.05 to 0.1% of the population worldwide suffer from alopecia areata, so that the hair condition is certainly not rare. Men, women and children are affected. Men and women are affected in equal numbers. Also, the hair condition has no ethnic or racial predilection. Usually the symptoms appear before the fortieth year.

Causes: Hair loss due to autoimmune disease

The cause of alopecia areata is unknown. About 10% of patients with this condition have a family history of alopecia. Alopecia areata is presumably an autoimmune disorder . The immune system attacks the body’s own cells by mistake in this disease.

A pregnancy may elicit alopecia areata / Source: PublicDomainPictures, PixabayA pregnancy may elicit alopecia areata / Source: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

Risk factors

A provoking factor is a big, radical event. Examples of this are a disease, a pregnancy or a trauma. It often appears that patients suffering from alopecia areata suffer from another disease that usually affects the immune system such as:
asthma (chronic inflammation of the airways in the lungs)
Addison’s disease (insufficient production of hormones by adrenal glands)
diabetes mellitus (diabetes)
eczema (chronic skin disease with dry and itchy skin)
a thyroid abnormality
pernicious anemia (failure of absorption of vitamin B12 with a vitamin B12 deficiency as a result)
rheumatoid arthritis (chronic autoimmune disease with inflammation of joints and other organs)
systemic lupus erythematosus
vitiligo ( skin condition with white patches on the skin )

Species

Alopecia exists in a number of species such as:
alopecia areata: Patches of hair loss
alopecia totalis : A complete loss of hair
alopecia universalis : A total loss of all body hair

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