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Alopecia Areata

What is Alopecia Areata?

Alopecia Areata is a condition which affects the scalp causing hair loss. But in some cases, it can also affect other areas. This loss of hair is very rapid and involves typically one side of the head more additionally than the other side.

Alopecia areata has an effect on both females and males. The type of loss of hair is different than baldness known as male-pattern baldness which is an inherited problem.

Evidence does suggest that alopecia areata is thought to develop because of an unusual problem with the immune system. This abnormality leads to autoimmunity. Because of this, the immune system assails the follicles of hair and interrupts the normal formation of hair. Biopsies of the skin in this affected area show immune cells within these follicles of hair where they are generally not present. The cause of this is not known. Alopecia areata often is related to other conditions which are autoimmune such as disorders of allergies, Vitiligo, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Alopecia areata often occurs within members of families, which suggests heredity and genetics.

The most frequent pattern is where one or several areas of hair loss are on the scalp. There is as well a type of mostly generalized hair thinning known as diffuse alopecia areata throughout the scalp. Often, all hair of the scalp is lost and is known as alopecia totalis. Less often, the total loss of all bodily hair, called alopecia universalis can occur. Usually, this loss of hair involves the beard of a man which is a condition known as alopecia areata barbae.

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Alopecia Areata
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