Alopecia Areata (Hair Loss)
The meaning of alopecia is hair loss. A medical condition known as alopecia areata causes the hair to fall out in round patches. The hair can fall out on the scalp as well as other areas of the body.
Alopecia areata can lead to various types of hair loss, namely:
- Alopecia areata (hair loss in patches)
- Alopecia universalis (lose all hair on the body)
- Alopecia totalis (lose all hair on the scalp)
Texas Surgical Dermatology, led by board certified dermatologist Dr. Tri H. Nguyen, provides advanced skin care procedures to patients in Houston, Katy, Spring, The Woodlands, Texas, and surrounding locations.
What causes Alopecia Areata?
People can experience this type of hair loss at any age. It usually begins in childhood. Certain patients with alopecia areata have a family member who also has the condition.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body’s own immune system attacks it. In the case of alopecia areata, the body attacks its own hair follicles. An individual’s genes, along with other factors, might trigger this type of hair loss.
But most commonly this condition occurs in people with a family history of other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes. For this reason, some scientists believe that genetics may be a contributory factor in the occurrence of alopecia areata.
In addition, they also believe that some factors in the environment are necessary to trigger alopecia areata in individuals who have a genetic predisposition to the condition.
The condition develops when white blood cells attack the cells in hair follicles, which causes them to constrict and significantly slow down hair production. It is unknown exactly what causes the body’s immune system to target hair follicles in this manner.
One in five individuals with the disease has a family member who has alopecia areata as well.
Other research indicates that many individuals with a family history of alopecia areata have a personal or family history of other autoimmune diseases, such as atopy, a condition characterized by a tendency to be thyroiditis, hyperallergic, and vitiligo.
Irrespective of what many people believe, there is scant scientific evidence to support the view that stress causes alopecia areata. While extreme cases of stress may trigger this dermatology condition, most recent research indicates that the cause may be genetic.
Who is affected by Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata tends to develop in adults between the ages of 30 to 60 years. But it may also occur in older people, and rarely, young kids. Men and women are equally impacted by this disorder, but alopecia areata is not contagious.
This disorder is distinct from hair loss that may happen after stopping hormonal estrogen and progesterone therapies for birth control or the hair shedding that occurs with the end of pregnancy. There are various treatable conditions that could be confused with alopecia areata.
How do Health Care Professionals diagnose Alopecia Areata?
The characteristic finding of alopecia areata is multiple well-circumscribed areas of hairless skin in areas that should be hair-bearing. On occasion, the patient may require a biopsy of the scalp in order to confirm the diagnosis.
Board certified dermatologist Dr. Tri H. Nguyen receives patients from Houston, Katy, Spring, The Woodlands, Texas, and nearby areas for safe and proven skin care treatments.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information on procedures and treatments offered at Texas Surgical Dermatology PA please call 832.663.6566 or click here to contact our dermatologists. Helping patients in Houston, The Woodlands, Springs, Katy and other surrounding areas of Texas.