What is Alopecia?
Alopecia is considered an autoimmune skin disease, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, resulting in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere on the body. It occurs in males and females of all ages and races, but onset most often occurs in childhood.
How many types of Alopecia are there?
There are three types of Alopecia.
- Alopecia areata: It is the most common Alopecia. Hair falls out in small, round, smooth patches. The scalp is the most commonly affected area, but the beard or any hair-bearing site can be affected alone or together with the scalp.
- Alopecia totalis: If Alopecia becomes more extensive, it can progress to cause total loss of hair on the head.
- Alopecia universalis: Complete loss of hair on the entire head, face and body.
Is Alopecia hereditary?
Yes, heredity plays a role. In one out of five persons with Alopecia, someone else in the family also has it. Those who develop Alopecia for the first time after the age of thirty years have less likelihood that another family member will have it. Those who develop their first patch of Alopecia before the age of thirty have a higher possibility that other family members will also have it.
What can trigger Alopecia to start?
Current research suggests that something triggers the immune system to suppress the hair follicle. It could be virus, trauma, diseases, stress, etc.
Could Alopecia affect your daily life?
Alopecia is not medically disabling; persons with alopecia are usually in excellent health. But emotionally, this disease can be challenging, especially for those with extensive hair loss.
Is it possible to re-grow the hair?
Yes. It is possible. No matter how widespread the hair loss, the hair follicles remain alive and are ready to resume normal hair production whenever they receive the appropriate signal. In all cases, hair re-growth may occur even without treatment and even after many years.