Do you experience baldness suddenly and make you uncomfortable with it? know Alopecia Areata: Who is most likely to get alopecia areata? Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis.
This baldness is rare in children and often occurs in adults. You don’t have to worry because in this article you will find out the new cure for alopecia areata.
What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata is baldness or hair loss caused by autoimmune disease. In alopecia areata, the immune system attacks and damages the hair follicles, causing loss and baldness. A bald scalp with a rounded shape is one of the signs of this condition.
Alopecia can occur in both men as well as women. Generally, alopecia areata occurs before the sufferer is 30 years old. This condition most often affects the hair that is on the scalp.
When experiencing alopecia areata, hair follicles, which are where hair grows, become smaller and then stop producing hair. This then leads to loss and baldness. This condition can be sudden or gradual.
Causes of Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is caused by the immune system attacking hair follicles (autoimmune diseases). This condition causes the discharge of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokine. This then led to a halt in hair production. As a result, the hair becomes hair loss and eventually becomes bald.
Until now it is not known the exact cause why the immune system attacks and damages the hair follicles. However, the condition is thought to be triggered by viral infections, trauma, hormonal changes, and physical or psychic stress.
Risk factors for alopecia areata
Although it is not yet known the exact cause, several factors and conditions can increase a person’s risk of developing alopecia areata, namely:
- Have parents or immediate family suffering from alopecia areata or other autoimmune diseases
- Suffer from chromosomal diseases, such Down syndrome
- Suffer from vitamin D deficiency, asthma, atopic dermatitis, SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus), vitiligo, or thyroid diseases, such as Hashimoto’s disease and graves disease
Who is most likely to get alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata tends to occur most often in adults aged 30 to 60 years. However, it can also affect older individuals and, rarely experienced by children.
Symptoms of Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata can occur at any age. However, it is more common when the sufferer is a child, adolescent, or young adult. This condition can cause baldness or hair loss in some parts of the body, such as on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, nasal hair, armpits, pubic, mustache, or beard.
When a person experiences alopecia areata, the main sign found is loss or baldness that is not accompanied by pain. Like other autoimmune diseases, baldness and loss experienced by people with alopecia areata can be relapse or flare. In addition, several other signs can occur when a person has alopecia areata, namely:
- Round pattern baldness appears in one or more places that were overgrown with hair
- Baldness occurs at the bottom, side, or circle the back of the head (ophiasis alopecia)
- Regrowth hair generally has a different type to the previous hair, for example from the previous straight one then after balding, the hair grows into curls
In addition to causing the formation of bald tape on the scalp, alopecia also has another type, namely if baldness occurs in one area thoroughly, then this condition is also called alopecia areata totalis. Whereas if it occurs in all areas of the body that have hair, then the condition is called alopecia areata Universalis.
Generally, hair loss in people with alopecia areata can grow back on its own. However, in some people with alopecia areata, baldness can become permanent. This means the hair doesn’t grow back.
Nails with alopecia areata also often change, including nails that appear reddish, notched, or become rough and thin, so it is easy to split.
When to see a doctor
See a doctor if you experience unusual baldness or hair loss. Early detection can help you know the cause of hair loss experienced so that it can be treated according to the cause and condition you are experiencing.
Diagnosis Alopecia Areata
To diagnose alopecia areata, the doctor will ask for the patient’s complaint, then perform a physical examination. The doctor will examine the nails and areas of the patient’s body that are normally hairless.
To strengthen the diagnosis and ascertain the cause of hair loss, it is necessary to conduct supporting examinations, such as:
Biopsies are performed by taking samples from the scalp to be examined with the help of a microscope. Biopsies are performed to detect abnormalities in cells and tissues in the scalp and ascertain the cause of loss or baldness experienced.
This test is performed if the patient is suspected of suffering from autoimmune diseases or other diseases that can cause baldness and hair loss. Some things that will be assessed and detected when blood tests are performed are:
- Antinuclear antibody (ANA)
- C-reactive protein
- Erythrocyte Sedimentation
- Thyroid hormones
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
- Luteinizing hormone (LH)
Alopecia Areata Treatment
No treatment can cure alopecia areata. However, treatment will be done to relieve complaints, prevent recurrence of complaints, and help sufferers adapt and accept their condition.
In some cases, hair loss and baldness experienced by alopecia areata sufferers can recover by themselves. Your doctor may give you medications to stimulate hair growth. The medicines that may be given are:
The drug is used to stimulate hair growth. The dosage form of minoxidil commonly used to overcome baldness due to alopecia areata is topical or topical. New hair growth can be seen three months after the use of this drug.
Corticosteroid drugs are used to suppress the immune system. The drug is available in the form of injectable drugs, rub, and tablets. Injectable drugs are usually given to adult patients, while topical medications are usually given to pediatric patients. Meanwhile, corticosteroid tablets are consumed by people with extensive baldness.
The drug is used to treat the scalp that has baldness. After applying and settled as advised by the doctor, anthralin should be washed thoroughly so that the skin does not experience irritation.
Diphencyprone is a drug used to divert the immune system from attacking hair follicles. The drug is applied topically on bald areas of the skin. One of the signs of the start of the work of this drug is the appearance of contact dermatitis.
Although harmless sometimes alopecia areata can cause discomfort due to baldness experienced. Here are some ways you can overcome the discomfort:
- Use wigs, hats, and apply sunscreen cream on bald parts, to protect skin from sunlight
- Shave your head hair, mustache, or beard to make baldness look evenly
- Use glasses or false eyelashes, to protect the eyes from dust if they suffer from baldness in the eyebrows and eyelashes
Bosley’s hair restoration may also be one of the efforts in addressing the problem of hair baldness. Find out more about Bosley Hair Restoration in the previous article.
Counseling and support
To overcome emotional disorders and increase confidence, people with alopecia areata can undergo counseling with a psychologist. In addition, sufferers can join the group of alopecia areata sufferers, to share experiences and reduce stress.
Complications of Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata does not cause complications that can harm the sufferer. In addition alopecia areata is also not contagious. However, several conditions can occur when a person has alopecia areata, namely:
- Permanent baldness in 10% of sufferers
- Emotional disorders that can cause anxiety disorders and depression
In addition, alopecia areata is often associated with an increased risk of disease due to other immune system disorders, such as asthma, vitiligo, SLE, or atopic dermatitis.
Prevention of Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is difficult to prevent because it is not yet known the exact cause. However, relieving stress is believed to help in preventing the occurrence of alopecia areata. Some of the ways below you can do to relieve stress:
- Practice breathing or meditation
- Reduce consumption of caffeine-containing beverages, such as coffee
- Listen to soothing music
- Do fun things or hobbies, such as watching funny movies
- Make time to socialize with family and friends or play with pets