Are you losing you hair? Do you have Alopecia?

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alopeciaWhat is alopecia and what causes it?

Alopecia is the word that is used to refer to any type of hair loss or baldness. This can occur in any hairy region of the body. 

At present, there is no known cause of Alopecia. It is speculated that the disease may be hereditary since most people who have it, have relatives who also suffer from the condition. It is also believed to be a form of autoimmune disease. How so? Well, that’s because Alopecia occurs when the body’s immune system rejects its’ own hair follicles – thus, causing hair to fall out. It has also been observed that Alopecia affects patients with other autoimmune disorders such as SLE (Lupus), Thyroid problems, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and others.

Who is at Risk for Alopecia?

Both men and women suffer from Alopecia. It can affect people from every race and nationality. The disease can also strike at any age – but, most of the time symptoms present themselves in the teenage years. As mentioned, there is evidence that the disease is hereditary. That is why individuals who have relatives with Alopecia are at risk for developing the disease. People who presently suffer from autoimmune conditions also have a chance of developing Alopecia.

The Patterns of Alopecia

Alopecia Areata, is a form of Alopecia that causes bald spots on the scalp. This can  occurs anywhere on the body, but it usually occurs on the scalp. It is also referred to as Spot Baldness. Total loss of the scalp is known as Alopecia Totalis. Alopecia Barbe refers to spot baldness on beard region and Alopecia Universalis is when a person looses all bodily hair. Early symptoms of Alopecia often include tenderness (pain to touch) on the bald spots.

How is Alopecia Diagnosed

Diagnosis of Alopecia often involves a biopsy of the affected scalp tissue. This will determine if the hair fall has been really been caused by Alopecia and not by other causes. Another telltale sign of Alopecia is referred to as – Exclamation Point Hair. It means that the strands of the affected hair taper off towards the roots.


There is no known cure for alopecia. The majority of people diagnosed with alopecia areata will notice that their hair will grow back after a year. In the cases where the hair has not grown back, there are some treatments that may help. Steroid injection and steroid creams and common treatments. New ‘experimental’ treatments for alopecia include drugs that subdue the autoimmune system.

If you think that you might have alopecia or hair loss, please contact a dermatologist or trichologist.

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