Alopecia Areata is a condition that occurs without warning. It can happen overnight. It is characterized by the appearance of bald patches in the head. It is believed to be the result of an immune system imbalance which causes it to attack hair follicles which in turn, causes hair loss or prevents hair growth in the affected area. Alopecia Areata cases are handled by seeing a dermatologist. Unfortunately researchers have not come up with a standard procedure to diagnose Alopecia Areata cases yet. So dermatologists perform a process of elimination in determining the cause of hair loss in a patient. However, the distinctive quality of Alopecia Areata makes it easier to identify by a simple visual examination of the bald patch. These bald lesions appear as smooth surfaces that do not show any signs of broken hairs or even inflammation. The following are other known facts about the condition:
For the first lesion that appears within 24 hour period, patients may experience a sensation of pain in the affected area.
The scalp is usually the area that is affected but Alopecia Areata can also be present in other parts of the body.
25% of children with Alopecia Areata condition also experience ridging of the nails.
5% of Alopecia Areata patients are likely to develop a more advances condition such as total loss of hair in the head, Alopecia Totalis. While others develop Alopecia Universalis or the total loss of body hair.
Hair pull tests are usually performed to determine the particular area is actively affected or if further loss of hair shall be expected.
There is no cure for Alopecia. But the good news is given proper treatment, a considerable percentage of Alopecia Areata patients have a chance to get their hair back within twelve months or with more luck, their hair may grow back sooner.
People who are affected by the disorder despite losing hair, are perfectly healthy.
Research studies on Alopecia Areata are unsuccessful in determining other possible causes or cure for the condition. Treatments and drugs are available to help grow hair. Unfortunately, the continuous appearance of bald patches cannot be stopped or prevented.