Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Alopecia Areata: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments, and Tips to Cope

alopecia areata
The best treatment for alopecia areata

Alopecia Areata: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments, and Tips to Cope



Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss in the form of round spots. These spots may be unnoticeable at first, but with increased hair loss, these spots expand and the hair-free areas become noticeable.
Alopecia areata may also affect other parts of the of the body, especially scalp, causing hair, eyebrows, and facial hair to fall. It may lead to the loss of full body hair, called alopecia totalis.

What causes alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata occurs because of a defect in the immune system, which leads to attacking white blood cells of hair follicles,  resulting in shrinkage and stopping hair growth, and hair falls from that area of the body.
The cause of the attack of the immune system to hair follicles is unknown, but there are factors that stimulate the incidence of alopecia areata, including the following:
 Tension or stress needs further studies to establish its relationship with alopecia areata degeneration.
 Disorders of the immune system, which are often genetic in the history of the family, for example:
  • Vitiligo
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) 
  • Asthma
  • Graves' disease
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Attaché
  • Psoriasis

What are the symptoms of alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is characterized by the presence of round patches on the scalp, the most important signs of alopecia areata include:

Hair loss

Hair loss occurs in the affected area of the scalp, and may also affect the area of eyebrows, eyelashes and beard area in men, and hair may fall in other parts of the body.
The hair may grow again and then fall down and then grow again and so, or may fall and does not grow again, in both cases should see the doctor for the possibility of the disease of alopecia.

Depression, anxiety, and stress

Symptoms of depression in patients with alopecia areata appear after a long period of infection, and symptoms of depression appear as a result of anxiety and grief due to hair loss.

The appearance of white hair

White hair appears in the place of hairless round spots.
Hair loss occurs before reaching the surface of the skin. The diameter of the hair follicle decreases from the beginning of hair follicle growth, weakening it and making it break easily.
It is worth mentioning that the doctor should be checked in case of sudden hair loss from any area of the body.

Nail changes in alopecia areata

Symptoms of thoracic alopecia appear on fingernails and feet.
White patches and lines appear on the nails.
Dryness and roughness of nails.
Loss of gloss of nails.
Weakness and cracking of nails.

What is the diagnosis of alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is diagnosed by symptoms and signs characterized by hair loss in the form of round spots that begin with the scalp. Doctors may perform blood tests to exclude any other autoimmune disorders in the case of alopecia areata. The specific blood test depends on the particular disorder of the doctor's suspicion. However, one doctor will test for the presence of one or more unusual antibodies. If they are found in the blood, then this usually means that a person has an autoimmune disorder.
The procedures taken by the doctor in the diagnosis of alopecia areata include:

They take a sample of the patient's hair and examine it under a microscope. Biopsy of the scalp of the injured, so as to exclude other diseases that may lead to hair loss such as ringworm disease.
Other blood tests that can help in dealing with other conditions and may be performed by the doctor include:
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • C-reactive protein 
  • Levels of iron
  • Antinuclear antibody test
  • Testing the antibodies of the nucleus
  • Thyroid hormone tests
  • Follicle stimulant and luteinizing hormone tests
  • Testosterone test

What is the treatment of alopecia areata?

There is no specific treatment for alopecia areata so far, but there are some medications and pills that help to grow hair again or prevent falling and reduce the tension caused by the disease.
The doctor may prescribe one of the following medications for the patient alopecia areata:

Topical treatments for alopecia areata

These topical treatments include topical medications:

 Topical corticosteroid

Corticosteroid is an anti-inflammatory and is prescribed for patients with autoimmune disorders. These drugs may be given in the form of a needle in the scalp, or in the form of oral pills or even in the form of ointment, foam or soap directly applied to areas without hair, corticosteroid needs a long time to start healing.

Minoxidil topical

 Minoxidil is placed on the scalp and affected the area of the eyebrows or beard twice a day, and is considered to be largely safe but its results may not appear until one year after use.

Topical anthrax

 Anthralin is placed on the scalp, which in turn stimulates the growth of hair. These treatments are usually used to treat baldness. It takes about 12 weeks to start, but some users may not get the desired result.

 Topical Immunotherapy

It is a technique that exposes the skin to certain chemicals that stimulate hair growth in the bald areas within six months. Immunotherapy must be adhered to every period to help hair growth constantly.

Injection therapy for alopecia areata

 Steroid Injection

It is one of the common treatments used by doctors for alopecia patients who have not lost full hair. These injections help to regrow hair growth in bald spots. The procedure is performed by inserting a thin needle containing steroid into the outer surface of the scalp or skin.
Steroid injections are used once every month or two, as it does not prevent hair loss but help to grow hair again after falling.

Oral Gastric Therapy for Treatment of alopecia areata

Treatment includes the use of the following pharmaceutical pills:

Cortisone pills

 Cortisone pills are usually used for patients with alopecia who suffer from full hair loss from all parts of the body. Because cortisone has many side effects, this treatment is only applied through a prescription from a specialist.

Antibiotics

Immunosuppressants are oral pills that inhibit the body's immune system. Examples of these are methotrexate and cyclosporine.
The problem of such treatments is that it cannot be used for prolonged periods because of its side effects such as high blood pressure, kidney and liver damage, and an increased risk of lymphoma cancer.

Phototherapy

 Some studies have indicated that phototherapy is an alternative treatment for patients who are unable to use oral and topical treatments. This type of treatment includes medical treatment by using psoralen pills and the use of ultraviolet light.

Other alternative therapies include:
  • Aromatherapy
  • Acupuncture
  •  Probiotics.
  •  Low-level laser therapy.
  •  Massage the scalp.
  •  Eat vitamins such as zinc and butane.
  •  Eat a diet that contains only meat and vegetables.
Please note that there are not enough studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of these alternative therapies.

Home remedies for alopecia areata

Some people recommend rubbing the hair follicle with one of the following household preparations:
  • Onion juice.
  • Garlic juice.
  • Soaked green tea.
  • Various oils such as almond oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, mint oil, rosemary oil, and tea tree oil.
  • Honey.
  • coconut milk.
Studies are ongoing on the effectiveness of these substances, but they certainly will not cause harm to the patient alopecia.

Tips for coexisting with alopecia areata

Living with alopecia may be difficult, especially when the patient loses his full hair, but there are some tips that will help the patient to live with the disease according to age as follows:

 Children

Children under the age of five do not have many symptoms of the disease, but after the age of five, the child will begin to feel different from their peers. Parents are often advised to put wigs for their children and check with your pediatrician or specialist dermatologist if necessary.

Teenagers

They are the most prone to bullying and mocking by peers in normal situations, so young people with alopecia areata will be more vulnerable to psychological abuse and mocking and harming their peers, and therefore advised to:

Talk to them frequently by friends and family and not notice them that they are suffering from shortages.
Psychiatrists intervene to increase their self-confidence if necessary.
Put the quality wigs that are not easily snatched.

Adults

Adults with alopecia can coexist with the disease by:
  • Wear hats or wigs.
  • Hair shave and beard are so full that hair-free patches do not appear in a way that irritates others.
  • Communicate directly and continuously with other alopecia patients to exchange experiences and take support and advice.
  • In case of hair loss, eyebrows can be drawn or using microblading technique or tattoos.
  • Put some cosmetics that will hide hair-free areas.
  • Installation of eyelashes in case of hair loss of full eyelashes.
Another option, I think, it is the best, though more extreme, is removing the remaining hair through laser hair removal or shaving. Being completely bald can be less noticeable than being bald spots. Some people find that the shaving of their head is quite generous but it can also slow down the depression of slow-moving hair. Hair loss may make social experiences more difficult for adults, so a good partner should understand the situation and be a source of support.

1 comment:

  1. Pattern baldness or alopecia areata is a common hair loss condition where bald spots develop in the scalp. Doctors are still trying to find a perfect treatment for this problem and they have found some ways to reduce or fix this issue. Hair growth experts use medications to perform alopecia areata treatment.

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