WHAT IS ALOPECIA AREATA?
Alopecia areata is a scalp condition in which the falling of hair occurs in small patches but in the initial phase, the small patches are unnoticeable, after sometimes the small patches may connect and then become noticeable. So in alopecia areata hair fall occur in patches.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune, non-scarring disorder.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF ALOPECIA AREATA?
- Alopecia areata(patchy ) -it is the initial stage in which the hair starts falling in a small patch then it gradually increases and makes a shape like a coin. If this condition becomes worsen it lead to alopecia totalis or alopecia Universalis
- Alopecia totalis -when hair loss occurs in the whole scalp this condition is called alopecia totalis.
- Alopecia Universalis -this is a severe form of alopecia, along with the scalp hair loss also started from the other parts of the body such as eyebrows, eyelashes, chest, back, and pubic hair.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR ALOPECIA AREATA?
- Genetic -if this disease strike under the age of 30, in such type of cases having a strong family history
- Medical conditions -There are some medical conditions in which the chances of occurrence of alopecia areata are common such as asthma, hay fever, thyroid disease(thyroiditis), vitiligo, pernicious anemia, and down syndrome
- Stress - some experts say alopecia areata is also triggered by mental stress.
- Pre-existing skin disease or autoimmune disorder
- Pregnancy and hormonal imbalance also lead to this condition during pregnancy several hormonal changes occur.
- Smoking, drinking can also trigger this condition
WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS OF ALOPECIA AREATA?
- Social stigma -if there is some problem in the growth of the hair it reduces the self-esteem, affects the quality of life, it leads to bad impact on emotional levels and decreases the confidence levels of the patient, in this Condition patient try to make distance from society and sometimes it also leads to depression.
- Permanent hair loss if the condition is not treated at the right time leads to alopecia totalis , which means hair loss is permanent and also spread to other parts of the body
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ALOPECIA AREATA?
The classical symptoms of alopecia areata are hair loss in patches, due to patches it may form a coin size shape in the scalp
- Symptoms of this condition may appear suddenly, developing in just a few days, or may take a period of weeks
- In the acute phase, the lesion can be slightly erythematous and oedematous.
- Sometimes itching may occur
- Characteristic hair, known as exclamation point hair may be seen around the areas of alopecia, hair are tapped towards the scalp end and thickened at the distal end.
- Cadaver hair -when the hair breaks before reaching the skin surface
- White hairs - may grow in the affected area.
- Burning in the affected area
There are some warning signs that appear in the fingernails and toenails, these signs warn regarding this condition. Signs are:
- Nails become rough
- Nails of the fingers and foot become thin and split
- Sometimes nails become dull and lose their shine
- White spots and lines may also appear in the nails
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF ALOPECIA AREATA?
The exact cause of this condition is unknown but it autoimmune disorder so when some problems occur in the healthy immune system
If the immune system is disturbed, it tries to harm its own cells, this condition occurs when white blood cells that normally protect us but due to deranged immune system white blood cells started to attack the cells in the hair follicles, it leads to shrinking and as a result, it slows down the production of the hair.
Multiple factors such as genetic and environmental factors
- Genetic factors play a very important role because it is fact if any person is suffering from this condition has a strong family history of alopecia areata
- Stress - there is little evidence that this condition is triggered by stress
- Some medical conditions are also related to alopecia areata such as thyroiditis, vitiligo, and any history of autoimmune disorder, asthma, hay fever, pernicious anemia, and drown syndrome.
DIAGNOSIS OF ALOPECIA AREATA
- Diagnosis is made by physical examination, past history, and medical history all these steps help in making the diagnosis of this condition
- Past history reveal any history of the same condition and medical history give clue to find out any other autoimmune disorder
- A scalp biopsy may be required sometimes (it is required to rule other conditions such as any fungal infection ( tinea )
- Sometimes hair of the affected part is examined under the microscope
- Blood test - test is also useful to detect other conditions such as iron levels, thyroid hormones, antinuclear antibody test, free and total testosterone, follicular stimulating hormones and luteinizing hormones, erythrocytes sedimentation rate
- Pulling test -this test is done in the initial phase doctors gently push the hairs and check the amount of pulled hair
TREATMENT OF ALOPECIA AREATA
There is only conventional treatment is available such as corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory drugs which suppress the immune system, and mostly it is administered through local injections, topical ointment application, or orally, use of photochemotherapy. but all these treatments are not safe and permanent.
Homeopathy is a good option in treatment because it is safe and effective.
MANAGEMENT OF ALOPECIA AREATA
- Try to protect your body from direct exposure to the sun because it can harm you, apply sunscreen whenever going outside
- Always cover the head from the sunlight by using hats, wigs, and scarves to protect the head from the sun or keep it warm
- If you feel social embarrassing keep your hairstyle that covers your baldness
- Join supportive groups and never feel depressed.
- Take a diet that is rich in proteins, zinc, and biotin.
- Scalp massage from the essentials oil
- Use Herbal supplements such as ginseng, green tea, Chinese hibiscus, and saw palmetto.
- Reduce stress to overcome this condition
HOMEOPATHIC MANAGEMENT OF ALOPECIA AREATA
Homeopathy is the best option of treatment because it is safe and effective it helps to regrow the hair. homeopathic medicine can improve the state of the deranged immune system.
But never take homeopathy medicine without consultation from the registered practitioner.
Some homeopathic medicines are
Jaborandi ,acid flour ,thuja ,lycopodium ,phosphorus,sulphur
Do’s and don’ts
- Use sunscreen if exposed to the sun.
- Eat healthy diet
- Keep hydrated
- Protect yourself from the sunlight
- Keep positive thinking
- Use herbals oils and shampoos
- Reduce stress
- Limit the use of alcohol and smoking
- Don't join the society which depresses you
- Avoid harsh hair treatments such as curling, iron, and other harmful treatments.