Diseases list > Alopecia

What is alopecia and what are its symptoms? Are there any known causes of it? How is alopecia diagnosed and what is the best method of treatment, if any? Here we examine alopecia and attempt to answer all of the questions above. Before anything else, what exactly is alopecia? Alopecia or alopecia areata is a disease of the skin that is acquired and distinguished by hair loss on certain parts of the body. There are no external or internal medical problems that have been linked to alopecia. Alopecia is often inherited from a persons ancestors. 


Alopecia areata is often identified by hair loss on the scalp. For hair that is noticeably thinned out, the condition is referred to as diffuse alopecia areata. On the other hand, if the hair on the scalp is lost completely, the condition is called alopecia totalis. Alopecia universalis pertains to the loss of hair on the whole body.


Scientific research tells us that the cause of alopecia areata can be attributed to an anomaly in a persons immune system. Because of this abnormality, the tendency of the misguided immune system is to turn on itself. The immune system then focuses its attention on certain tissues of the body. In the case of alopecia areata, the hair follicles are attacked by the immune system and this leads to disrupted hair formation. While this is not often the case, there are some incidents where certain autoimmune conditions such as allergic disorders, ulcerative colitis, vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus have been linked to alopecia.


Alopecia areata is characterized by the lack of hair on an area that is normally covered with hair. Health care providers sometimes biopsy the scalp in order to verify the diagnosis. The presence of short hairs or fractured hairs are also sometimes used to diagnose alopecia. A complete medical history and clinical evaluation of the patient are also completed.


There are various courses of treatment that a person diagnosed with alopecia can choose to undergo. These include shampoos like Clodex, Lidex, steroid injections, and creams. It is important to speak with a health care provider about possible courses of treatment as many products on the market purport to treat alopecia but dont yield any actual results. Camouflaging alopecia in a cosmetic manner is also an option to disguise the effects of the said skin disease. Women more commonly undergo this to remedy the emotional effects of the disease.