Understanding Alopecia: Hair fall or Hair Thinning

Akansha

Overviewing Alopecia

Alopecia is a reversible disease; and an uncertain spot baldness, where hair falls out, leaving a circular smooth hairless patch. It is an autoimmune disease where the cells attack the hair follicle causing thinning of hair with or without noticeable patches of baldness. In some cases, the baldness may occur all over the body – beard, underarms, hands, legs and near genital areas. The hair lost may grow back in a few months, or remain permanent.

Alopecia effects Loss of eye lashes

Alopecia is not a life-threatening disease but is emotionally and physically effecting the lives of plenty.

There may be loss of eye lashes and nose hair too – which allows the dust and foreign particle to enter inside them. The bald area should always be covered to protect it from the sun exposure, dust, and foreign matter. Always wear a cap/glares to protect the bald scalp and missing eyelashes. Keep your nose moisturised with an ointment to prevent the growth of microorganisms.

Seek counselling if you are emotionally depressed.

Alopecia areata

Now, what to do?

When you have noticed the baldness or excessive hair loss and hair thinning which implied baldness, immediately visit your doctor.

  1. He will examine the hair carefully under microscope.
  2. Doctor may perform Scalp Biopsy by removing a tiny piece of skin to understand the condition. It may be infected by fungal – tinia capitis.
  3. A blood test will also be done to examine for the presence of abnormal antibodies and thyroid gland conditions

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What Causes Alopecia?

  1. The white blood cells may attack the hair follicles, causing them to shrink, and slow down the hair growth. The shrink hair usually falls down and causing temporary baldness patch.
  2. 1 in 5 people has a family member who must have suffered from Alopecia. Genes maybe responsible for this.
  3. Virus or bacteria attack in the persons environment – The research is still going on.
  4. Pitted nails – Having small dents in finger nails and toe nails.
  5. Suffering from an autoimmune disease – Diabetes I type, Thyroid, Arthritis
  6. Extensive hair loss.
  7. Stress aggravates the problem. Stay cool
Alopecia areata

Treatment

  1. Injection of corticosteroids into the scalp or skin. Corticosteriods are hormones that promotes hair growth. They can be taken orally or the cream can be used for topical applications.
  2. Minoxidil (Rogaine) is the only FDA drug that has been approved to treat female pattern baldness. Apply topically on the scalp for hair growth.
  3. Anthralin is an ointment that helps hair grow again. Apply the ointment on the scalp for some time and rinse it.
  4. Eat more anti-inflammatory foods such as whole grains, fruits, garlic and onions, vegetables, extra virgin oil.

Don’t Worry: The stem cells, responsible for supplying the new cells to the follicle, are not targeted;  the hair might grow back!!