AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Auto-immune diseases are numerous, mysterious, and wide-spread.  Alopecia areata is one of those auto-immune diseases. They can affect just about anyone and can affect just about any part of the body.


What is Alopecia Areata?

img Alopecia Areata id fe Alopecia Areata: Hair Loss From An Auto Immune Disease

Img: Alopecia Areata, source

Alopecia areata, often called spot baldness, causes circles of hair loss to occur at various places on the body.  While hair loss usually happens on the scalp, it can appear anywhere on the body.

There are many different variations of alopecia areata.  Some variations affect facial hair, public hair, or the scalp.  Sometimes the hair loss happens in all these places at once.

Signs and Symptoms

Alopecia areata first becomes evident when small bald patches appear.  After the hair disappears, the spot is usually circular and leaves skin that looks healthy.

In some cases, the bald spots can cause a tingling sensation or may even cause some pain.  Hair will come out quite easily in the bald spot and around the balding site as well.  The areas away from the bald spot are not being attacked by your immune system and will be healthy.

This is a disease that can cause permanent spots of hair loss.  Other times, the hair will temporarily grow back.

This auto-immune disease can affect people of all ages; no one is safe.  Alopecia areata can even affect young children.

The Diagnosis

Diagnosis can be a complicated matter.  Clinical features usually determine diagnosis for alopecia areata.  A trichoscopy will reveal the affected follicles and the damaged areas.  Biopsies are rarely used in diagnosing alopecia areata.

Alopecia Areata: Understanding the Causes

Finding the exact causes for alopecia areata has been difficult.  Most signs point to heredity, as patterns have been found between afflicted family members.  Alopecia areata is not contagious.

Families with a history of auto-immune diseases have higher chances of getting alopecia areata.  Four areas in the genome have been known to contain these alopecia areata genes.

While this disease may be passed on genetically, it is ultimately an auto-immune disorder.  Your body attacks your hair follicles in certain (or all) areas of the epidermis.  Alopecia areata may also suppress or stop new hair growth.

Some doubt has been thrown on the nature of this auto-immune disease, as some babies have been born with congenital alopecia areata.  This is confusing because infants do not have a fully developed immune system.

There is another curious twist to alopecia areata.  Hair that has turned gray will not be affected.

Alopecia Areata Treatment Options

In the case of small hair loss, the disorder is usually observed and monitored.  Often the bald spot will fill in again as the disorder goes into remission.

When alopecia areata affects larger areas or all of the epidermis, alopecia areata can be treated with clobestasol or fluocinonide.  These medicines come in injection and cream form.  The injections seem to be more effective and faster acting.

In cases where alopecia areata has effected prominent areas (such as eyebrows), steroids have been injected.  The results for steroid injections have been mixed.

In severe cases where hair loss is permanent, wigs are used.  Wigs have progressed tremendously and come in many different styles to fit different needs.

Unfortunately, a cure hasn’t been found for alopecia areata.  Therefore, it is important to stay in constant contact with your doctor.  Inform your health professional of any changes in your condition.  Your doctor will be able to inform you of new treatment options and new research involving alopecia areata.

Some might say alopecia areata occurs at a superficial level.  However, those who have lived with this auto-immune disease understand the pain, discomfort, and emotional anguish it causes.

About the Author: Ron Barraza is a health and fitness writer. When he isn’t contributing to other sites, he is writing for his own blog about hair restoration and Tampa hair transplants.  Ron has worked for a local hair transplant clinic in Tampa, so he is able to provide a wealth of information on his site.


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