Alopecia is none other than a simple term, which is known as hair loss. Basically, this it is from the head or from your body. This kind of condition is usually seen affecting millions of people, in which majority of hair is lost from some or the other part of the body, mainly from your scalp. Just because of this condition, people start having bald spots on their head. Generally, at the basic or the initial phases, it appears like spot baldness and after certain moment it spreads to a wide section of your head or to the entire scalp.
Million of humans are suffering from the most common kind of hair loss, which is classified and termed as alopecia areata. This kind of loss comprises of one or more circular spots on the your scalp. It is further explained in detail.
What is Alopecia Areata ?
A term that commonly signifies the maximum loss of hair in patches, termed as baldness in layman’s language. Basically, this kind of baldness is considered to be an autoimmune disease. Generally, the human body immune system is designed in such a way to protect them from different kinds foreign invaders like the viruses, bacteria, etc. However, these foreign invaders mainly attack the hair follicles, which are the small cup-shaped structures from where the hair grows. Due to such bacterial attacks, there is an excessive amount of hair loss on your scalp.
In majority of the cases, it occurs in smaller proportions, circular patches that are about the size of a quarter. In several cases, this type of disease does not exceed beyond a few patches, but in some people these disease is quite severe. Finally, this results in complete baldness.
Basic Signs and Symptoms of Alopecia
Initially, the basic signs and symptoms are extremely small and are not aggressive. Later on, these take the shape, usually round with soft, bald patches. Mostly, it affects the scalp, but it might also occur in other hair bearing portions of the body. In addition, there are different portions where you will find loss as well as re-growth of hair on the body at the same time.
Sometimes, such kind of loss also leads to certain amount of tingle and slight pain on your scalp. Even, the hair falls out in a limited or extremely short period of a time. This loss of hairs mainly occurs more on the one side of the scalp rather than on some other side. Some other signs and symptoms are the distribution of hair loss, presence of scarring, and certain features of skin lesions.
Basically, in males, it affects mainly at the hairline or at the temple of the scalp; whereas, in women it occurs at the frontal as well as in the parietal part of scalp. In women the hairline remains the same. It may also be characterized by gradual thinning of hair.
Causes of Alopecia
The main causes are still unknown, but for most of them this disease or condition is due to the family history. Basically, this is an autoimmune condition and it not at all contagious. Strong evidences suggest that this kind of disease is mainly prevalent in the genes and it was found by studying the families who were strongly affected by this alopecia areata disease.
This kind of abnormality mainly occurs due to a misguided immune system, which tends to harm our own body and as a result, it particularly attacks the tissues of the body. Under this, the body’s immune system directly harms or attacks the hair follicles resulting in the fall of hair or hair loss. The bacterial attack to the hair follicles leads to the disruption in the normal or regular formation of hair.
In case of alopecia areata, the immune system cells mainly known as the white blood cells, directly hit the rapidly growing cells present in the hair follicles, which assist in the increasing and the enhancement of hair. The damaged hair follicles become tiny and hamper the production of hair. However, the hair follicle is not at all targeted and therefore, the potential for re-growth of hair still exists.
The other causes are as follows:
- Some kind of illness
- Certain hard medications or supplements, like chemotherapy
- Autoimmune disorder
- Certain kind of trauma before hair loss
Diagnosis for Alopecia
In order to perfectly evaluate this kind of disorder, you have to proceed with the test completely based on the clinical symptoms. If the hair loss increases on a large scale then you have to follow different kinds of evaluation techniques. They are as follows:
- The Pull Test: This evaluation technique will assist you in testing for diffuse scalp hair loss. Here certain amount of hair is extracted and tested under a microscope. So, with examination if the loss is large then this type of hair fall is normal. But, if the test has >10 hairs, then this examination is positive
- Scalp Biopsy: People undergo this test or examination when they are suffering from alopecia, but the diagnosis is not at all known. The biopsy test certainly assists in distinguishing between scarring and non-scarring forms. Few samples of hair are taken for the biopsy
- Trichoscopy: Basically, this is a non-invasive technique of testing the scalp and hair. It is conducted by making use of video dermoscope
Treatment Methods for Alopecia
There is no actual treatment or any kind of medications for this ailment. Millions of people go for other treatments that assist in growth of hair and reduce the hair loss problem. Few treatment methods are as follows:
- Corticosteroids: These are one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory medicines or drugs that are slightly similar to hormones, which are usually generated in the human body. When administered they start treating the varied kinds of autoimmune diseases
- Local Injections: These are nothing but healthy steroids, which are directly injected into the bald patches that are present on the scalp. These steroids result in faster growth of hair and reduce the hair fall
- Minoxidil: Topical minoxidil solutions increase and enhance the growth of hair in different conditions. These medicines are useful in both male and female pattern baldness. This solution is used twice in order to have quick and effective results
Therefore, alopecia is a phase or condition that has effects resulting in excessive hair fall or hair loss. If the provided treatments are taken, it can be cured to a certain extent.