Alopecia Areata – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Alopecia Areata – Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

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Alopecia areata is one of the most common hair fall-related issues, which is faced by more than a million people in India. In this, distinctive bald patches appear on one’s scalp that might be overlapping as well. If left untreated, the patches might grow and cause complete baldness.

Important Things To Know About Alopecia Areata

  • How Common Is This Condition? – Alopecia areata is quite common with millions of people worldwide suffering from it.
  • Does It Happen To Males/Females? – People from both the genders can suffer from alopecia areata, irrespective of their natural hair color or skin tone.
  • Does It Require A Medical Diagnosis? – Besides carefully examining the alopecia areata symptoms like bald patches, a lab test and medical diagnosis are done by the doctors.
  • Do You Require A Medical Evaluation? – Since an ideal course of alopecia areata treatment might differ from one individual to another, a medical evaluation is highly recommended.
  • What Type Of Doctors Can Help You? – One should visit an experienced Trichologist, Dermatologist, or Endocrinologist to get an alopecia areata treatment.
  • Ages Affected By It – People of all ages (even children) can suffer from alopecia areata. Though, it has been observed that adults (of age 30-60) are more likely to experience hair fall due to alopecia.

What Are The Causes Of Alopecia Areata?

Alopecia areata is classified as an autoimmune disease. As you know, our immune system is responsible for protecting the body from any foreign attack (by bacteria, virus, and so on). In alopecia, our immune system mistakenly starts attacking our hair follicles by considering them as an external entity. This leads to an extensive hair loss in a specified region. This abnormal behavior of our immune system is one of the main alopecia areata causes.

There could be a few other alopecia areata causes as well, which might depend on one’s genetics, hormones, diet, or previous medical history. Here are some other triggers and alopecia areata causes that are commonly identified –

  • Iron deficiency
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Protein deficiency
  • Extensive intake of vitamin A
  • Fungal infection
  • Mental stress and anxiety
  • Physical stress or drastic weight loss
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic illness
  • Thyroid level imbalance

Also Read: Top 15 Causes Of Hair Loss In Men & Women

Common Signs & Symptoms Of Alopecia Areata

Following are some common alopecia areata symptoms and signs that might differ from one individual to another –

  • Extensive hair loss in prominent patches on the scalp
  • Hair loss in beard, moustache, and eyelashes in distinctive patches
  • Unpredictable hair loss
  • Rapid occurrence of bald patches
  • Hair loss all over the body
  • Complete baldness on the scalp

Also Read: Hair Loss – Common Symptoms, Classifications & Medical Solutions

What Are The Different Patterns Of Baldness?

The alopecia areata cure depends on the pattern of baldness, either or alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis –

  • Alopecia Totalis – In this, a sudden hair loss is experienced on the entire scalp
  • Alopecia Universalis – This kind of sudden hair loss occurs on entire body

    Other patterns of baldness which require treatment are –
  • Traction Alopecia – This is caused by applying extensive tension on certain areas of the scalp, leading to patches and hair thinning.
  • Scarring Alopecia – In this critical condition, follicles are destroyed permanently and replaced by scar tissues.

Also Read: Male Pattern Baldness – Causes & Treatments

Who Is Affected By Alopecia Areata?

Anyone can be affected by alopecia areata irrespective of their gender or age. In most of the cases, it is observed in men and women of age between 30 to 60 years.

How Is Alopecia Areata Diagnosed?

An experienced Dermatologist or Trichologist would be able to diagnose alopecia areata easily. They look for hairless patches on the skin in areas where hair growth is expected. A clinical examination and hair pull test is done primarily followed by a comprehensive examination using a dermatoscope is done to further study the alopecia areata cure for a patient. The occurrence of black dots, circle hair, broken hair, etc. are some of the features that help to confirm the diagnosis of alopecia areata.

Treatment Of Alopecia Areata

The alopecia areata hair regrowth treatment depends on what caused the issue in the first place. To start with, doctors recommend steroid injections to boost the alopecia areata hair regrowth. You can also consider taking alopecia areata medicine if it is caused by iron or protein deficiency. There are also dedicated medicines for mental stress and anxiety that can further help in alopecia as well. You can also apply minoxidil (Rogaine) on the affected area to prevent hair loss.

Another common approach is a PRP treatment for alopecia areata regrowth. It is a non-invasive and therapeutic treatment in which your own blood is extracted from your arms and put to centrifuge. This will help in separating the platelets from plasma and then these activated platelets are injected into the bald patches on your scalp. This helps in stimulating the hair follicles and thus regrowing the hair naturally.

Also Read: What Is PRP Hair Treatment – Cost, Side Effects & Results?

Tips To Avoid Alopecia

Follow these thoughtful tips to avoid alopecia areata and treat it in a better way –

  • Sometimes, alopecia areata can spread very rapidly therefore, you should visit a doctor and get it diagnosed by an expert and treated at the earliest. As the earlier the problem is diagnosed, the faster it can be treated.
  • Ensure enough iron intake is done and also keep the thyroid hormones under control
  • Make sure that you take a healthy alopecia areata diet, including the proper intake of vitamins and minerals.

Also Read: 35 Natural Hair Growth Tips For Men & Women

FAQs

  • Is It The Same As Baldness?

No, baldness is not the same as alopecia. In baldness, permanent hair loss is experienced due to the diminished presence of hair roots. Whereas, alopecia areata is a reversible autoimmune condition where the regrowth treatments can easily let you regain your lost hair.

  • How Does This Disease Impact Your Daily Routine?

Extreme hair loss caused by alopecia can have a severe psychological impact on one’s life. It can lead to low self-esteem, sadness, anxiety, fear, isolation, and even frustration.

  • Does Alopecia Affect Children?

Although alopecia mostly occurs in adults, there are numerous cases of children suffering from it as well.

  • Can Stress Cause Alopecia?

Stress and anxiety can cause an immunological and hormonal imbalance in our body, which can trigger alopecia.

Now when you know the major alopecia areata causes and various treatments for it, you can easily take a thoughtful step. Book an appointment to see a certified expert and get immediate assistance if you are also suffering from alopecia areata.

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About The Author

Dr. Keerthi Subramaniam

Dr. Keerthi Subramaniam

Dr. Keerthi Subramaniam, MD dermatology has over 8 years of experience. Having studied Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College & Hospital and trained at immensely prominent centers, she has gained a sizable amount of knowledge in the field. She is known to keep abreast with the latest inventions in medical science so as to offer treatments that are of the best and highest quality.


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