Alopecia Areata. Complete Guide to know more.
What is alopecia areata?
It is a disease that affects the scalp and other skin regions. It is characterized by
destruction of hair follicles (the structure of the skin that "makes" the hair that we see on our skin).
How does it manifest?
People who have it have hair loss. Hair is lost in inconspicuous areas, resulting in a round coin-sized lesion. In these injuries the skin appears normal, but it lacks hair.
Who is at risk of this disease?
It can affect anyone, regardless of age or sex. It usually manifests from childhood, although it can occur at any time in life. Those who suffer from it have a genetic predisposition to develop the disease. Having close relatives affected by this disease increases the risk of presenting it. The risk is even higher if the disease appeared at an early age.
What causes alopecia areata?
The cause is unknown. It is known that "abnormal activation" of the immune system occurs in the hair follicles. The immune system mistakenly "destroys" the follicles of the body itself. Which causes hair loss. To manifest it requires a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental stimuli. The disease often begins after prolonged periods of physical or emotional stress.
Does alopecia areata produce any symptoms?
The disease is completely asymptomatic. Therefore, the affected areas do not cause any discomfort.
The only sign of the disease is hair loss. People often notice hair loss casually, by cutting their hair, combing their hair, or when someone notices them. The injuries can be unique or affect various parts of the body. When the lesions are very large they can "come together" and form larger lesions.
Is the disease contagious?
Affected people can experience social isolation and stress caused by such sudden hair loss. In some cases the affected person may feel discriminated against by their close social circle. Alopecia areata is NOT contagious, therefore there is no risk that it is transmitted to other people.
How is this disease treated?
The evolution of the disease is highly unpredictable. Hair loss can be temporary or permanent. Lesions can remain static or grow over time. In some cases, the disease can progress to such an extent that hair is lost from the body completely (alopecia universalis). There is no way to prevent it. There are various treatment schemes with variable effectiveness. The treatment will be focused on stopping the activation of the immune system (so that the follicles are not destroyed) and stimulating the growth of the still viable follicles. Because it can be a progressive disease, it is recommended to start with a treatment as soon as possible to avoid permanent hair loss. When hair loss cannot be reversed with medical treatment, the hair transplant allows to restore lost hair
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