Alopecia Areata Treatment
Alopecia is the medical term for baldness. There are various types of Alopecia which also includes Alopecia Aerata.
Alopecia Aerata is an acquired skin disease that can affect all hair-bearing skin and is characterized by localized areas of non-scarring hair loss. It is a condition that causes a person’s hair to fall out and is an autoimmune disease.
An autoimmune disease is a disease condition in which the person’s immune system attacks his/her own body. In the case of Alopecia Aerata, the person’s hair begins to fall out, often in clumps the size and shape of a quarter.
However the extent of the hair loss varies, in some cases it is only in a few spots and while in other cases the hair loss occurs with a greater impact.
In some cases the person loses all of the hair on his/her head and even entire body. It is strongly believed that the person’s genes trigger the autoimmune reaction of Alopecia Areata, along with various other unknown triggers.
Alopecia Areata is an unpredictable disease in which the recovery and effects vary from person to person. In case of some people, hair grows back but falls out again later, while in other cases, hair grows back and remains. Even if someone loses all of his or her hair, there is a chance that it will grow back.
What Causes Alopecia Areata & Who Gets It?
Anyone can develop Alopecia Areata; however, the chances of having Alopecia Areata are slightly greater if a person’s relative have a history with this disease. In addition, Alopecia Areata occurs more often among people who have family members with autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, lupus, or thyroid disease. Current evidence suggests that Alopecia Areata is caused by an abnormality in the immune system. This particular abnormality leads to autoimmunity, a misguided immune system that tends to attack its own body. In Alopecia Areata, the body’s own immune system attacks the hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation. Alopecia Areata is occasionally associated with other autoimmune conditions such as thyroid disease, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis.
What is the treatment for Alopecia Areata?
The course of typical Alopecia Areata is not predictable. The longer the period of time of hair loss and the larger the area involved, the lesser are the possibilities of the hair to re-grow. There are a variety of treatments, but none of these can be confidently predicted to impact the course of this disease.
Below are the popular recommended treatments of Alopecia Aerata:
- Steroids: Steroid injections may at times prove to be very helpful in restarting the hair growth cycle in treated areas. Steroid creams, lotions and shampoos have been used for many years. But these are of limited benefit at best.
- Topical Contact Allergens or Sensitizers: This therapy is used in case the hair loss is widespread or if it reoccurs. This treatment promotes hair growth. Another name for this treatment is topical immunotherapy.
- Corticosteroids: These are anti-inflammatory drugs that are prescribed for autoimmune diseases. Corticosteroids can be given as an injection into the scalp or other areas. These can also be taken orally as a pill, or applied topically as an ointment, cream or foam. Response to this therapy is gradual.
- Rogaine: This topical drug is also known as minoxidil and is used as a treatment for pattern baldness. It usually takes about 12 weeks of treatment with Rogaine before hair begins to grow. There are big possibilities of this treatment not showing results.
Other drugs that are used for Alopecia Areata with varying degrees of effectiveness
Alopecia Areata is not a medically serious condition, but it can severely impact people psychologically. More than the treatments, the person suffering from Alopecia Aerata should have a positive attitude and should not be embarrassed. Spending more time with loved ones and talking more openly about the disease too will help in keeping a healthy mindset.
Did you know about Alopecia Areata ?
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