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Alopecia Areata AKA Hair Loss

Uploaded by mumsa1 on Dec 12, 2011

Alopecia areata causes patches of baldness to develop in both men and women.

In this article:

What is hair loss (alopecia areata)?
Symptoms
Causes
Diagnosis
Effect on your life
Treatment
How Chemist Online can help
Advice & Support

What is hair loss (alopecia areata)?
The hair loss caused by alopecia areata (a chronic, inflammatory condition which affects the head’s hair follicles) is not necessarily permanent. Also, the condition is not in any other way harmful to your overall health.

Note: Some men with alopecia areata also develop patches of baldness in the beard area or even on the eyebrows. However, this is not a common symptom.

Symptoms
Symptoms of alopecia areata include:

Patchy hair loss (on the head). The patches are usually about the size of a 10p piece.
Red, scaly skin in the affected area (in rare cases)
Brittle and/or split nails
Patches of whiteness to the skin beneath the nails

These symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending upon the individual.

Causes
Despite worldwide medical research, as yet the exact cause of alopecia areata is unknown. However, analysis of patients has brought to light that the vast majority of sufferers who develop the condition do so due to an imbalance to the immune system. An autoimmune condition develops where the body ‘attacks itself’.

Other possible causes include:

An allergic reaction to a certain trigger which causes alopecia areata to develop
Eczema
Mood disorders, such as anxiety or stress
Trauma (having been directly involved in an accident of some sort which has led to both physical and emotional trauma)

With general baldness in men, this is usually a hereditary condition (i.e. it runs in the family).

Diagnosis
If you are suffering from the aforementioned symptoms, make an appointment to see your GP. After taking your medical history and asking you some questions about your symptoms, your GP will then examine the affected area before recommending an appropriate course of treatment.

You may be referred to a dermatologist (a skin specialist) at your local hospital.

Effect on your life
Many people with alopecia areata feel self-conscious and embarrassed about their condition, and seek to cover their head through wearing a hat, cap or headscarf. However, the patchy hair loss is not always permanent.

Treatment
Although there is not a complete cure as such for alopecia areata, there are treatments available which are intended to help hair grow back in the affected area. These are generally steroid creams and lotions. Where the condition is particularly severe, ultraviolet light treatment (at your local hospital) may be tried.

How Chemist Online can help
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Uploaded by:   mumsa1

Date:   12/12/2011

Category:   Science

Length:   2 pages (500 words)

Views:   3739

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