Facts about Alopecia areata


Alopecia areata is a an autoimmune disease that often results in unpredictable hair loss, hair falls out in small patches around the size of a quarter. For most people, the hair loss is nothing more than a few patches, though in some cases it can be more extreme.

Also the disease can lead to the complete loss of hair on the scalp (alopecia totalis) or, can affect the entire body (alopecia universalis). The condition can affect anyone regardless of age and gender, though most cases occur before the age of 30.

Alopecia areata does not directly make people sick, nor is it contagious. It can, however, be difficult to adapt to emotionally. For many people, alopecia areata is a traumatic disease that warrants treatment addressing the emotional aspect of hair loss, as well as the hair loss itself.

It has been compared by some to vitiligo, an autoimmune skin disease where the body attacks melanin-producing cells, leading to white patches. Research suggests that these two conditions may share a similar pathogenesis, with similar types of immune cells and cytokines driving the diseases and common genetic risk factors. To know more about Autoimmune disease CLICK HERE.

CAUSES
The condition results from 'autoimmune disease' when white blood cells attack the cells in hair follicles, causing them to shrink and dramatically slow down hair production. It is unknown precisely what causes the body's immune system to target hair follicles in this way.

Also it seems that genetics are involved as alopecia areata is more likely to occur in a person who has a close family member with the disease. One in five people with the disease has a family member who has also developed alopecia areata.

Various researches have found that many people with a family history of alopecia areata also have a personal or family history of other autoimmune disorders, such as atopy, a disorder characterized by a tendency to be hyperallergic, thyroiditis, and vitiligo.

SYMPTOMS
The most common symptom of alopecia areata is patchy hair loss. Coin-sized patches of hair begin to fall out, mainly from the scalp. Any site of hair growth may be affected, though, including the beard and eyelashes.


The condition involve sudden hair loss, developing in just a few days or over a period of a few weeks. There may be itching or burning in the area before hair loss. The hair follicles are not destroyed and so hair can re-grow if the inflammation of the follicles subsides. People with a few patches of hair loss often have a spontaneous, full recovery without any form of medication.

TREATMENTS
Alopecia areata cannot be cured. But it can be treated and hair can grow back. Try the following to help your hair to grow back, includes drugs and some natural home remedies

(a) Some Drugs

1. Topical immunotherapy
It is used when theres a lot of hair loss, or if it happens more than once. Chemicals are applied to the scalp to produce an allergic reaction. If it works, this reaction is actually what makes the hair grow back. It also causes an itchy rash, and usually has to be repeated several times to keep the new hair growth.

2. Corticosteroids
These are anti-inflammatory drugs that are prescribed for autoimmune diseases. They can be given as an injection into the scalp or other areas. They can also be given in pill form or rubbed on the skin as an ointment, cream, or foam. The downside is that it may take a long time to work.

3. Minoxidil (Rogaine)
Involve an application of minoxidil drug on the scalp, is already used for pattern baldness. It usually takes about 12 weeks before you see growth, and some users are disappointed in the results.

NB:
The use of medications that treat other autoimmune disorders, can also help for the treatment of alopecia areata. These medicines have different amounts of success in re-growing hair.

(b) Natural home remedies
There are some natural remedies that people claims for their effective treatment of hair loss, but their claims has not yet proved scientifically.

Some people recommend rubbing onion or garlic juice, cooled green tea, almond oil, rosemary oil, honey, or coconut milk into the scalp. While none of these are likely to cause harm, their effectiveness is also not supported by research.

PREVENTION
Prevention of hair loss depends on the underlying cause. Good hair hygiene with regular shampooing is a basic step but is probably of little benefit. Good nutrition, especially adequate levels of iron and vitamin B, is helpful. Treatment of underlying medical conditions like thyroid disease, anemia, and hormonal imbalances may useful in prevention.

If you've any opinions about this article feel free to leave your thoughts on the comments section below. Don't miss our future posts, Stay tuned!.

Posted by: Lusubilo A. Mwaijengo

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