The general term for baldness is alopecia. This is the reason why male pattern baldness is referred to as androgenic alopecia. This is not the only type of alopecia that you can get affected with. There are plenty of other forms of baldness that you could be prone to depending on your genetic makeup and the lifestyle choices you make. One of the types of alopecia that cause a lot of problems is the alopecia areata.
What is Alopecia Areata?
When a person suffers from alopecia areata, his or her hair tends to fall out more frequently than normal. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. For those of you who are not aware of what an autoimmune disease is, it is a condition in which the person’s immune system attacks their own body. In the case of alopecia areata, it is the person’s hair follicles that are attacked by the immune system. As a result of that, the hair begins to fall out in clumps that are often as big as quarters. This could be a terrifying sight for any individual and often leads to severe cases of anxiety.
Extent of Hair Loss in Those Suffering from Alopecia Areata
The extent of hair loss is not the same in every person who suffers from alopecia areata. In certain people, the hair loss occurs in only particular sections of the scalp. In others, the hair loss can be more widespread. In fact, there have been rare occasions where people have lost all their hair due on the head due to alopecia areata. When this takes place, the autoimmune disease affecting the hair follicles on the scalp is referred to as alopecia areata totalis. The nightmare does not stop there. In worse cases, people have been known to lose all the hair on their body because of an extreme form of alopecia areata called the alopecia areata universalis.
A Very Unpredictable Disease
There is no knowing what course the alopecia areata will take once it starts affecting a person. In certain cases, the hair that had been lost is restored and then falls out again. This makes the person temporarily believe that his or her hair loss problems have finally come to an end before realizing that they have to deal with hair fall once again. Certain lucky individuals who suffer from alopecia areata do have their hair restored to a considerable extent. This means that if you end up having alopecia areata today, there is still a sliver of hope that the hair you will lose over the course of the following months might grow back within a year’s time. Individual cases of alopecia areata are very unique. You will be surprised to know that there have been documented cases where people who had lost all their hair due to alopecia areata universalis, where able to grow their hair back once the effects of the disease became milder.
As far as the cause of alopecia areata is concerned, this is still a grey region that researchers have been unable to explore properly. That being said, there is ample evidence to suggest that alopecia areata can be triggered by a person’s genetic makeup. In addition to genes, there are several other unknown triggers which can lead to alopecia areata in a human being.
Who Suffers from Alopecia Areata?
It is quite difficult to categorize people who are most likely to suffer from alopecia areata. Almost any person can be affected by this autoimmune disease. It is kind of like fever. You are always in danger of having it, but there are certain precautions that you can take in order to lower the risks of contracting alopecia areata. In certain cases, there is not much that you can do to keep this disease at bay. For example, people who have a relative that is suffering from alopecia areata or had suffered from alopecia areata before are more likely to end up with alopecia areata themselves.
It is also worth noting that if you have family members who have autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, lupus or thyroid, then your chances of having alopecia areata are automatically increased.
Is There a Cure for Alopecia Areata?
As of now, researchers have been unable to come up with a definite cure for alopecia areata. This is pretty much the case with most forms of hair loss and balding out there. That being said, alopecia areata can be treated. These treatments will help you grow you hair back once the effects of this horrible hair fall disease become less severe. In a lot of the cases, the doctors prescribe medication in the form of drugs for patients who suffer from alopecia areata. These drugs are also used to treat other conditions. Some of the more common treatment options for alopecia areata include cortioosteroids, minoxidil and topical contaot allergens.