alopecia areata

balu67 By balu67, 19th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Diseases & Infections

it describes what alopecia areata is, its causes, and treatment options. information is also provided on current research. alopecia areata is just one cause of alopecia, or hair loss.

nature of it

alopecia areata is considered an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system, which is designed to protect the body from foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria, mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, the structures from which hairs grow. This can lead to hair loss on the scalp and elsewhere.

In most cases, hair falls out in small, round patches about the size of a quarter. In many cases, the disease does not extend beyond a few bare patches. In some people, hair loss is more extensive. Although uncommon, the disease can progress to cause total loss of hair on the scalp (referred to as to alopecia areata totalis) or complete loss of hair on the scalp, face, and body (alopecia areata universalis).

Causes

In alopecia areata, immune system cells called white blood cells attack the rapidly growing cells in the hair follicles. The affected hair follicles become small and drastically slow down hair production. Fortunately, the stem cells that continuously supply the follicle with new cells do not seem to be targeted. So the follicle always has the potention to regrow hair.

Scientists do not know exactly why the hair follicles undergo these changes, but they suspect that a combination of genes may predispose some people to the disease. In those who are genetically predisposed, some type of trigger - perhaps a virus or something in the person's environment - brings on the attack against the hair follicles.

Who is Most Likely to Get it?

Alopecia areata affects nearly 2 percent of Americans of both sexes and of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. It often begins in childhood.

If you have a close family member with the disease, your risk of developing it is slightly increased. If your family member lost his or her first patch of hair before age 30, the risk to other family members is greater. Overall, one in five people with the disease has a family member who has it as well.

Seriousness

Is My Hair Loss a Symptom of a Serious Disease?

Alopecia areata is not a life-threatening disease. It does not cause any physical pain, and people with the condition are generally healthy otherwise. But for most people, a disease that unpredictably affects their appearance the way alopecia areata does is a serious matter.

Aloepecia areata often occurs in people whose family members have other autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, throid disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, pernicious anemia, or Addison's disease. People who have alopecia areata do not usually have other autoimmune diseases, buy they do have a higher occurrence of throid disease, atopic eczema, nasal allergies, and asthma.

Will My Hair Ever Grow Back?

There is every chance that your hair will regrow with or without treatment, but it may also fall out again. No one can predict when it might regrow or fall out. The course of the disease varies from person to person. Some people lose just a few patches of hair, then the hair regrows. and the condition never recurs. Other people continue to lose and regrow hair for many years. A few lose all the hair on the scalp; some lose all the hair on the scalp, face, and body. Even in those who lose all their hair, the possibility for full regrowth remains.

The course of alopecia areata is highly unpredictable, and the uncertainty of what will happen next is probably the most difficult and frustrating aspect of the disease. You may continue to lose hair, or your hair loss may stop. The hair you have lost may or may not grow back, and you may or may not continue to develop new bare patches.

Treatment

Although theire is neither a cure for alepecia areata nor drugs approved for its treatment, some people find that medications approved for other purposes can help hair grow back, at least temporarily. The following are some treatments for alopecia areata. Keep in mind that although these treatments may promote hair growth, none of them prevent new patches or actually cure the underlying disease. Consult your health care professional about the best option for you. A combination of treatments may work best. Ask how long the treatment may last, how long it will take before you see results, and about the possible side effects.

Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs similar to a hormone called cortisol, which is produced in the body. Because these drugs suppress the immune system if given orally, they are often used in the treatment of various autoimmune diseases, including alopecia areata. Corticosteroids may be administered in three ways for alopecia areata viz., 1. Local injections, 2. Oral corticosteroids (taken by mouth) and 3. Topical ointments (or creams).

Minoxidil (5 percent) : Topical minoxidil solution promotes hair growth in several conditons in which the hair follicle is small and not growing to its full potential. Minoxidil is appoved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating male and female pattern hair loss. It may also be useful in promoting hair growth in alopecia areata. The topical solution, applied twice daily, has been shown to promote hair growth in both adults and children, and may be used on the scalp, eyebrow, and beard areas.

In addition to treatments to help hair grow, there are measures that can be taken to minimise the effects of excessive sun exposure or discomforts of lost hair.

* Sunscreens are important for the scalp, face, and all exposed areas.

* Eyeglasses (or sunglasses) protect the eyes from excessive sun and from dust and debris when eyebrows or eyelashes are missing.

* Wigs, caps, or scarves protect the scalp from the sun and keep the head warm.

* An ointment applied inside the nostrils keeps them moisturized and helps to protect against organisms invading the nose when nostril hair is missing.

Research

More information on research is available from the following resources:

1. Clinical Trials.gov offers up-to-date information for locating federally and privately supported clinical trials for a wide range of diseases and conditons. Website : www.clinicaltrials.gov

2. NIH Clinical Research Trials and You helps people learn more about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate. Website : www.nih.gov/health/clinicaltrials

3. NIH RePorter is an electronic tool that allows users to search a repository of both intramural and extramural NIH-funded research projects from the past 25 years and access publications (since 1985) and patents resulting from NIH funding. Website : www.projectreporter.nih.gov

4. PubMed is a free service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine that lets you search millions of journal citations and abstracts in the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and preclinical sciences. Website : www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

For additional information, kindly contact the following organisation:

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) Information Clearinghouse, National Institutes of Health, 1 AMS Circle, Bethesda, MD 20892-3675, Phone : 301-495-4485, Toll free : 877-22-NIAMS (226-4267), TTY:301-565-2966, Fax : 301-718-6366, E-mail : NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov, Website : www.niams.nih.gov

Other resources:

a) National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Website : www.nccam.nih.gov

b) National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF), Website : www.naaf.org

c) American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), Website : www.aad.org

d) American Hair Loss Council, Website : www.ahlc.org

For updates and for any questions about any medications you are taking, please contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration toll free at 888-INFO-FDA (888-463-6332) or visit its website at www.fda.gov.

I wish that the readers will get rid of the hair loss / hair fall problem.

Tags

Disease, Health, Prevention

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author avatar balu67
a decent gentleman from south india. areas are meditation, dish preparation, religion, etc.

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Comments

author avatar Xavier Bage
19th May 2013 (#)

Persons suffering from Alopecia areata can be successfully helped with homeopathy.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
20th May 2013 (#)

Just try Potato peels they cure hair loss...

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author avatar balu67
20th May 2013 (#)

wonderful. homeopathy and potato peels are good alternative remedies.

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