Understanding Hair Loss: Alopecia

A pre-tied bandanba with height is a great head covering for those experiencing hair loss

As we continue exploring different forms of Hair Loss and their causes we turn to another little known disease called Alopecia Areata.

What is Alopecia Areata?

It is widely understood to be an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles causing hair loss.

There are generally three main types of Alopecia. The first and most common is Alopecia Areata which can cause a loss of hair in various spots usually affecting a circular area. The hair may or may not eventually grow back and when growing back it may grow back white at first and gradually assume its natural color.

The second and less common form of Alopecia is Alopecia Areata Totalis in which  person loses all the hair on their scalp.

The third and least common is Alopecia Areata Universalis which causes a complete loss of ones body hair.

The cause for Alopecia is currently not known and it is thought that genes play some role in it as well as trauma. I t has been found that in a portion of cases those suffering from Alopecia underwent some form of trauma before the onset of the disease.

This autoimmune disorder is not contagious and is considered a non-serious disorder as it does not affect general Health. However, it can have serious psychological affects as people generally regard their hair as a fundamental part of their identity.

While there are currently no known definite cures for Alopecia Areata there is ongoing research into it.

In a July issue of Nature magazine a team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Center identified eight genes that that form the underpinning of Alopecia and it is hoped this discovery can lead to finding a cure for this disease.

In our next post on Alopecia we will explore some of the treatments that are currently used to treat Alopecia.

By B. Levi

(Sources include WebMD, Wikipedia, U.S. National Library of Medicine, and DermNet)


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