Who Gets Alopecia areata And Treatment?
What alopecia areata causes are? Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune means that the body's immune system attacks the body. When alopecia areata develops, the body attacks its own hair follicles. A person's genetic makeup, combined with other factors, triggers this form of hair loss. People with alopecia areata may have a higher risk for:
• Another autoimmune disease such as thyroid disease or vitiligo (patches of lighter skin appear).
• Asthma and allergies, mainly atopic dermatitis (more commonly called eczema) and hay fever (nasal allergies).
• Having relatives who have asthma, allergies, or an autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes.
Who gets alopecia areata? People can have this type of hair loss at any age. It often begins in childhood. Some patients with alopecia have a family member who also has the disease. A dermatologist may prescribe one or more of the following to help the hair re-grow more quickly:
Corticosteroids: This medicine suppresses the immune system. It can be given as shots, with the dermatologist injecting the medicine into the places with hair loss. Sometimes a patient gets a topical (applied to the skin) form of this medicine. It may be a cream, lotion, or ointment. The patient applies the medicine to the bare spots. Less often, patients take corticosteroid pills.
For adults with Alopecia areata , these shots are often the first treatment tried. Patients receive shots every 3 to 6 weeks. Hair growth begins about 4 weeks after the last shot. Sometimes, it takes longer. Topical corticosteroids are less effective than shots. This is often the best treatment for children. Corticosteroid pills can have serious side effects. Dermatologists do not routinely prescribe them for this reason. Pills may be a treatment choice for patients with many bald spots.
• Minoxidil: A hair re-growth medicine, minoxidil 5%, may help some patients re-grow their hair. Both children and adults can use it. Patients apply it twice a day to the scalp, brows, or beard. New hair may start to grow in about 3 months. Patients most often use this medicine with another treatment.
• Anthralin: This medicine alters the skin’s immune function. The patient applies a tar-like substance to the skin and leaves it on for 20 to 60 minutes. A dermatologist may call this short-contact therapy. After 20 to 60 minutes, the anthralin is washed off to avoid the skin from becoming irritated.
• Diphencyprone (DPCP): This medicine is applied to the bald skin. It causes a small allergic reaction. When the reaction occurs, a patient has redness, swelling, and itching. Dermatologists believe this allergic reaction tricks the immune system, causing it to send white blood cells to the surface of the scalp. This fights the inflammation. It also prevents the hair follicles from going to sleep, and causing the hair loss. With DPCP, it can take 3 months for the hair to start re-growing.
When a person has alopecia areata, the hair will start to re-grow when the body gets the right signals. Sometimes this happens without treatment. Even with alopecia areata treatment , new hair loss can occur. Everything depends on how the immune system reacts. The following explains what can happen.
• Re-growing hair: It is likely that the hair will grow back even without treatment. It may fall out again, though. Most patients lose their hair more than once before the disease goes away for good. Even people who lose all the hair on their scalp and body can have their hair grow back. When hair loss is widespread (lots of hair loss on the scalp and/or body), there is a greater chance that the hair will not re-grow. When hair re-grows, it can be white or fine at first. A person’s own hair color and texture often return later.
• How long it lasts: This varies. For some people, the disease never returns. Others lose and re-grow hair for many years. No one can predict when the hair might re-grow or fall out again. This lack of control makes the disease frustrating.
Emotional toll: The emotional aspects of living with hair loss can be hard. Our world regards hair as a sign of youth and good health. The good news is that Alopecia areata
• does not affect overall health. It should not stop you from achieving your goals and dreams. You should not let it stop you from doing well in school, sports, and work.
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