What is it areata alopecia?
Areata alopecia is a disease that involves the loss of hair in a localized area of the body and usually in small round areas. Frequently, it differs from other types of hair loss by the speed in its performance. Its evolution is very unpredictable and very variable.
Who does it affect?
It’s a common disease that affects both women and men and can appear at any time in life.
It’s closely related to people with a personal or family history of hypothyroidism, a thyroid gland disorder that causes it to function more slowly and is usually of autoimmune origin.
A curiosity of the areata alopecia is that usually manifested in children and/or young people with a high degree of self-demand, very competitive, brilliant from the academic point of view. They are usually gifted or have a very high IQ.
There are different types of areata alopecia:
- Areata alopecia in single plate: is usually presented in a single area and small size. It’s the most usual presentation.
- Total areata alopecia: affects the entire scalp. The loss of all hair is usually 6 months after starting the symptomatology.
- Universal areata alopecia: affects the entire body hair (armpits, pubis, eyebrows and eyelashes)
Hair loss is often the only symptomatology. The area of affected skin looks normal, there is no inflammation, redness, scaling or any other abnormality.
It’s a disease considered of multifactorial origin, since there are different reasons that can influence its appearance:
- Genetic factors: family history with alopecia (20% cases).
- Autoimmune disease: is an attack of our own immune system to the hair follicle. An accumulation of lymphocytes occurs around the hair follicle that paralyzes the development of hair and causes its subsequent fall. The reason it’s triggered is unknown, but it’s usually linked to times of stress or emotional disturbances.
- Associated diseases: asthma, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, thyroid disease, diabetes, vitiligo …
Areata alopecia treatment
If hair loss is not generalized, often hair regrows in a few months without treatment. Even so, we recommend treating it as quickly as possible, as alopecia unfortunately goes faster that the medicines themselves.
The shock treatment of areata alopecia is done with corticosteroids, either in the form of lotions to apply, in the form of creams, injections or sometimes also by mouth. Everything will depend on the extent and of the force with which it’s presented.
The response to treatments varies greatly. Most patients respond satisfactorily to cortisone treatments, especially if they are established very rapidly at the onset of alopecia. In chronic cases in which the person has large areas of baldness in which all the usual treatments have failed, one of the most favorable treatments and with less risk to the health of the person is the PUVAteràpia which consists of receiving ultraviolet A radiation in combination with a medication that enhances the effect of radiation.
In certain cases of universal or total areata alopecia, it can cause psychological problems and of self-esteem, especially when the person is very young.