Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease in which our immune system attacks our own hair follicles and it causes patchy hair loss mainly on the scalp and sometimes in other areas of the body, prominently beard area.
what is an autoimmune disease?
to understand alopecia areata you need to understand what is an autoimmune disease first. our immune system is the defense mechanism of our body. this system attacks any foreign body comes into our body which is harmful to our body like bacteria, viruses and destroy them. but in autoimmune disease, this immune system gets confused and start considering our own body cells as a foreign body and attack them to destroy. this is what happens in alopecia areata, the immune system attacks our own hair follicles and causes patchy hair loss.
the exact cause of alopecia areata is not yet known but it is observed that its very predominant in patients who has a family history of other autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes Mellitus or rheumatoid arthritis.
here is the video by our eminent dermatologists Dr. Manali Shah on the causes of alopecia areata
what are the symptoms of alopecia areata?
the only symptom which is associated with the alopecia areata is localized hair loss either on scalp or beard, it shows a bald patch of few centimeters it usually shows the sudden onset, one day we will suddenly notice lot of hairs on your pillow.
sometimes this goes pretty aggressive and causes loss of whole hairs from the scalp called alopecia totalis and sometimes from the whole body called alopecia universalis. but alone hair loss can't be the definitive factor in diagnosing alopecia areata.
how to diagnose alopecia areata?
usually very experienced dermatologists like Dr Dhananjay chavan can diagnose this alopecia areata just by examination but in few confusing cases he also performs few tests to diagnose alopecia areata perfectly.
- microscopic examination of your extent of hair loss .
- scalp biopsy to rule out other similar conditions like fungal infection or tinea capitis.
- blood test to detect presence of autoimmune antibodies
- other blood tests like stated below. a) C- reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. b) anti nuclear antibody test c) iron level d) free testosterone level
what is the treatment for alopecia areata?
our most eminent dermatologist Dr Manali Shah gives an answer on this
unfortunately, there is no complete cure for alopecia areata as medical science doesn't know the actual cause of hair loss due to alopecia areata. but we can control the condition and regrow hairs which you have lost but there are high chances that you will lose that hair again.