Alopecia Areata is a disease characterized by sudden regional loss of a person’s hair or other hairs, such as eyebrows, eyelashes, facial hair, etc. When it occurs on the scalp, it manifests itself in round or oval shaped areas with no hair that can be easily seen from the outside. After a period of time, hair grows back in areas without hair or new lesions develop. Ringworm occurs mainly in juveniles. Of every 100 people affected by the disease, 70 to 80 are under the age of 40. It is more common in men than in women.
What causes alopecia areata?
The cause of alopecia areata disease is unknown. But it is thought to be caused by autoimmune causes. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body recognizes its own cells and tissues as foreigners. As a result, the immune system attacks one’s own cells. In alopecia areata disease, immune cells attack the hair follicles and stop hair growth and lead to hair loss.
According to the studies, it is seen that alopecia is also associated with genetic factors. The risk of this ailment occurring in the child of a parent with alopecia is about 3 to 6 times higher than in the normal population. Again, some diseases can be seen with Alopecia, which supports the effect of genetic factors. Some of these diseases are;
- Chronic inflammatory thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s Disease)
- Addison’s disease
- Hay fever
- Atopic allergic asthma
What are the risk factors for alopecia areata?
- Age, the disease in most patients starts under the age of 40.
- Gender, men tend to develop this disease more than women.
- Genetic predisposition
- Down syndrome
- Autoimmune disease
What are the symptoms of alopecia areata?
alopecia areata is characterized by one or more smooth, oval and hairless areas on the scalp. The skin in the affected area is healthy and there is no inflammation in the skin.
Hair loss usually begins in the scalp. However, all kinds of scalp including eyelashes, eyebrows, armpits, beards and pubic hairs can be affected and changes in nail structure can occur. Clinical appearance is variable and varies from person to person. The course of the disease is unpredictable and sometimes chronically repetitive.
Spontaneous recovery, stabilization or worsening of the course may occur during the disease. When the hair comes out again in the bald area, it is usually white, meaning it is not pigmented at first.
How is the treatment of Alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata treatment is planned by the skin diseases specialist. The goal of treatment is to stop the progression of the disease and reduce the severity of the symptoms. In some mild and early cases, hair regrows on its own without any treatment.
Steroids are used in the treatment in advanced stages or in the presence of serious symptoms. Steroids are applied primarily in cream form. In the later stages, depending on the situation, it can be applied to the scalp with an injector. Applications around the eyes require attention as they can be risky in terms of eye health. Apart from the steroid group, alopecia areata can also be treated with drugs and a different method called immunotherapy.
If you are suffering fromAlopecia areata-like hair loss, it is important for you to be examined by a dermatologist and go for a treatment so that the disease does not progress.
Hashimoto’s and Alopecia Connection
Alopecia areata is often associated with autoimmune disorders such as thyroid dysfunction. Thyroid stimulating hormone and thyroid antibodies did not increase significantly in alopecia areata patients compared to the normal population. However, thyroid antibodies have been found to increase in women and with progression of disease duration. Therefore, thyroid function and antibodies in patients with alopecia areata should be evaluated at different time periods, especially in women and individuals with long-term disease.