What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder that can come viciously where hair loss is so considerable that individuals start to get bald patches on their scalp. Your immune system mistakenly starts to attack the healthy cells in your body, including hair follicles. The white blood cells of an individual with alopecia identify healthy hair roots as foreign and therefore begin to attach them. Other parts of the body where alopecia can be seen is on the body, eyebrows, or even beards. These circular shaped bald spots about the size of a quarter, tend to develop rapidly and smaller patches may spread together and become aggressive enough to result in full baldness, which is known as alopecia universalis. Although it is not known exactly why the white blood cells attack the healthy hair follicles, there are some theories out there.
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It is normal for people with alopecia to experience bald spots a few times throughout their lives. Alopecia is very unpredictable, but there are some indicators that can help to anticipate whether or not alopecia can return for you.
Alopecia runs in
Alopecia detected in childhood or teenage years
You have other autoimmune disorders
More than 50% of your scalp is affected
Effects of Alopecia
Alopecia isn’t life threatening, and symptoms do not include any physical pain. Emotional stress is triggered for those dealing with alopecia, as they suffer with self-confidence, and their appearance.
Solutions to Alopecia
Unfortunately, there is no cure for alopecia, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that hair loss is permanent. Hair follicles that have been attacked may not have been destroyed, allowing for regrowth when the alopecia reaction is over. In some cases, alopecia can improve within a few months to a year depending on the size of the bald patches and extent of hair loss. When the hair does grow back, the hair is usually white and eventually returns to the original color of the hair that was lost as well as texture. For more aggressive cases, there is treatment available for hair less likely to re-grow through topical treatments and natural practices.