Description, Causes and Risk Factors:
Alopecia totalis is an autoimmune disorder which effectively turns your own immune system against your hair follicles. It results in total hair loss on the scalp, and can affect eyebrows and eyelashes as well, but this is the extent of the condition. It does not cause thinning or shedding of any other form of body hair. However, alopecia totalis can affect nails as well as hair, causing them to become thin, brittle and ridged.
Beyond hair loss, alopecia totalis has no physical side effects. It does not induce pain or sickness and the quality of life for sufferers is generally not affected, except by the psychological implications that accompany any form of hair loss. The condition is not contagious, but is thought to have a genetic influence, so there is an increased chance that sons and daughters could face the same issues.
The majority of people with alopecia totalis tend to experience it before reaching 40 years of age, with about twice as many men as women suffering from the condition. It is not known what triggers alopecia totalis. Although it is thought to be genetically programmed, there is evidence that long-term chronic stress or a sudden shock can instigate the condition.
Alopecia totalis has been known to cease on its own, although this is rare and many people prefer to seek treatment. Treatment usually focuses on a course of immunosuppressants, which work at calming the immune system to prevent it attacking the hair follicle. Side effects can be severe.
Alopecia totalis may start as a receding hair line growing gradually or sudden. In the beginning patches of hair loss can be seen on the scalp along with tingly feeling or pain. In some cases hair loss seems to be affecting one side of the scalp. This further can lead to a total baldness. Another indication of alopecia totalis is to be able to pull out one hair easily.
Although one knows that alopecia totalis means hair fall in large amount, still doctor will examine your medical history, physical examination and a family history as there is an unknown genetic cause that makes your immune system to attack hair follicles and causes alopecia totalis. Examination of scalp for hair fall patterns is done and the doctor also looks at the individual hairs. Blood samples are taken to know the causes of the diseases.
If you have just begun to lose hair vitamins or medications helps to slow down the hair loss. Corticosteroids ointment and minoxidil can also be used. But in cases of total hair loss regrow can be only after hair transplant surgery.
NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.
Some other types of alopecia:
DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.
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