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Alopecia Areata: Spontaneous, Premature Hair Loss

Alopecia Areata: Spontaneous, Premature Hair Loss
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Alopecia Areata

hair loss patches

Alopecia areata is a systemic autoimmune disease in which the body begins to attack its own hair follicles, resulting in spontaneous hair loss, either in localized patches or all over the body. It is most frequently found in children and young adults.

What Causes Alopecia Areata?

While the exact cause of alopecia areata is unknown, the condition can be brought on or exacerbated by physical or mental stress. The condition has also been linked to genetics. with patients sometimes having another family member who also suffers from the condition.

Types of Alopecia Areata

Patchy Alopecia Areata

Patchy alopecia areata refers to one or more coin-sized patches of hair loss that develop on the scalp.

Alopecia Totalis

Alopecia totalis refers to hair loss over the entire scalp.

Alopecia Universalis

Alopecia universalis refers to hair loss across the entire scalp and body. This includes the eyebrows, eyelashes, leg hair, armpit hair and pubic hair.

Diffuse Alopecia Areata

Diffuse alopecia areata refers to sudden, premature thinning of hair on the scalp.

Ophiasis Alopecia

Ophiasis alopecia refers to hair loss on the sides and the back of the scalp.

alopecia areata

Alopecia Areata Symptoms

  • Small bald patches
  • Sudden hair thinning
  • Significant hair loss in one or more areas of the body
  • Tingling or irritation of the scalp

Diagnosing Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata can be diagnosed by your primary care physician. Your doctor will perform a thorough physical examination and look at your medical history. They may want to perform a trichoscopy, a diagnostic test that examines the hair follicles under a microscope. This can confirm the hair follicles have been damaged through alopecia areata.

Treating Alopecia Areata

There is no cure for alopecia areata and some cases resolve on their own as the patient reaches adulthood. Management of the condition focuses on reducing stress levels to decrease hair loss.

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