All You Need to Know About Alopecia

Alopecia, also known as alopecia areata, is a disorder that causes hair loss by causing damage to the hair follicles on the scalp. Typically, hair shedding occurs in circular patterns in various parts of the hair, resulting in rounded bald spots. In extreme circumstances, however, it can cause full hair loss. Alopecia has no negative effects on health in general other than the psychological impact and is not contagious.

Alopecia universalis refers to the complete loss of hair on the head and body, whereas alopecia totalis refers to the complete loss of hair on the head only.

Causes of Alopecia

To this day, the cause of alopecia is unknown. All we know is that alopecia is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system attacks hair follicles. When people are healthy, their immune systems attack foreign bodies like viruses and bacteria, but in those with alopecia, for some reason the immune system mistakenly views the hair follicles as a foreign invader and assaults them, causing hair loss.

Signs of Alopecia

Although hair loss in rounded patches is the primary symptom of alopecia, some people may also have the following signs and symptoms:

  • Hair can thin out in a circular pattern, but it does not necessarily fall out completely.
  • Very rarely, hair loss might happen in the body and face in addition to the head.
  • Hair can break leaving behind circles of short hair which are called exclamation point hair.

Those with alopecia who experience the following symptoms may experience irreversible hair loss:

  • Patients who experience alopecia before puberty
  • Patients who have had alopecia for more than a year
  • Patients with a family history of alopecia
  • Patients with an autoimmune condition or a thyroid issue
  • Individuals who regularly develop allergies
  • Patients with unusually shaped or colored toenails and fingers

In summary, alopecia, also known as alopecia areata, is a disorder in which the scalp harms hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. It is a type of auto-immune disorder in which the immune system attacks hair follicles, mistaking them for foreign bodies.. Alopecia is characterized by round areas of hair loss, circular patches of thinner hair, and circular patches of short hair left over after hair breaks. Although the exact causes of alopecia are still unknown, there are some factors that can raise the risk of developing permanent hair loss, including having alopecia before puberty, a family history of the condition, having an auto-immune disease, or having thyroid issues. Overall, alopecia is not contagious and just causes hair loss; nonetheless, it may have a severe psychological impact on those who have it.

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