An Autoimmune Disorder That Affects Men & Women
What is Alopecia?
Alopecia is a condition of hair loss that can vary in severity, from patches that come and go to a permanent, total lack of hair. Many believe that this is why any choices that you consider must allow for exactly what is happening to you and how you want to look.
There are three main types of alopecia:
- Androgenetic Alopecia: Sometimes referred to as female pattern thinning, this type of alopecia is generally attributed to hereditary and genetic factors. The hair becomes thinner all over the head. Unlike
- Alopecia areata: patches of hair missing on the scalp and body
- Alopecia totalis: baldness on the scalp only
- Alopecia universalis: baldness on the scalp and body
What should you know about alopecia areata
Alopecia areata is a common condition that results in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere. It usually starts with one or more small, round, smooth patches. It occurs in males and females of all ages, but young persons are affected most often.
Normally, hair follicles on the scalp are producing 30 meters of hair each day. In alopecia areata, the affected hair follicles slow down production drastically, become very small, and grow no hair visible above the surface for months or years. While in this hibernation-like state, the hair follicles remain alive below the surface and are ready to resume normal hair production whenever they receive the appropriate signal.
Some people develop only a few bare patches and re-grow them within a year, even without treatment. The scalp is the most commonly affected area, but the beard, or any hair bearing site, can be affected alone or together with the scalp. In some, the condition sprads and affects large areas of the scalp for long periods of time. In others, all hair on the scalp is lost-alopecia totalis-or all on the entire body is lost-alopecia universalis. No matter how widespread the hair loss, the hair follicles remain alive below the skin surface, and the possibility of hair re-growth remains.
What is the signal that triggers the condition to start or stop?
It’s not clearly known, but an immunological signal is involved. Current research suggests that in alopecia areata something triggers the immune system to suppress the hair follicle. It isn’t known what this trigger is, or whether it comes from outside the body like a virus, or from inside like a hormone. Those with alopecia areata may also have antibodies directed against other normal parts of the body even though there is no disease or disability associated with these other antibodies.
Is alopecia areata due to nerves?
No, alopecia areata is not a nervous disorder and those who have it have not caused it and have no control over its course.
Is it necessary to change plans regarding school, sports, friends, career, dating, and marriage?
No, not at all.