Coping with Alopecia

Hair loss could seem like a bad dream for a woman as it is associated with femininity. Unfortunately, alopecia could cause your immune system to mistakenly attack healthy follicle cells that produce hair strains leading to hair loss. The hair loss could be asymptomatic, and you might not even notice it until someone else sees it or it falls as you comb it.  Martin Maag M.D. is an expert in treating alopecia and restoring lost hair.

How Alopecia Happens

Alopecia, an autoimmune disease, might not be recognized by the body’s natural defenses as the immune system would attack healthy follicle cells. The reason the immune system could attack the follicles might not be understood, but it is speculated that genes play a huge role. People with close relatives with alopecia might develop the condition, which leads the health experts to point it to genetic causes.

How You Could Know You Have Alopecia

Alopecia could happen at any age, and one could have it as a child, and it disappears for it to appear later as an adult. Since the alopecia is asymptomatic, you might not feel any pain or know you have the condition unless you witness the hair loss or a third party points it out. Traditionally, alopecia could leave perfect small non-scarring circles of hair loss on the scalp which is otherwise smooth and healthy. However, sometimes it could show up as an undulating band of baldness on the scalp, and it could also affect areas such as eyebrows and arms.

Is Hair Loss From Alopecia Permanent?

Unlike age-related hair loss, which is permanent, alopecia does not damage the hair’s ability to regrow. Your immunity only attacks the healthy hair follicles, stopping them from producing the hair, and once the immune system settles down, your follicles could produce healthy hair.  Fortunately, the condition is also treatable even if the immunity fails to settle, and your doctor could recommend treatments that block the inflammation and follicle attack.

Alopecia Treatments

  •       Use of topical agents

You could use over-the-counter topical creams that stimulate hair growth, and you could ask your doctor for topical cream prescriptions. You could use topical immunotherapy medications that spark rashes and promote hair growth. Corticosteroid creams could also decrease inflammation and promote hair growth.

  •       Injections

Steroid injections directly to the hairless skin could help reduce inflammation on the hair follicles while promoting hair growth. However, the treatment should be repeated regularly to achieve the desired growth and prevent recurrent hair loss.

  •       Oral treatment

Cortisone tablets work well for extensive alopecia; however, it has unpleasant side effects, and you should discuss with your doctor before taking these medications. An oral immunosuppressant could improve alopecia by blocking the immune system’s response, but it could cause high blood pressure and kidney damage and increase the risk of infections.

The Bottom Line

Alopecia could be a frightening autoimmune disease that could lead to small patches of baldness or severe hair loss. The immunity would mistakenly attack the follicle cells that produce hair, leading to hair loss. The condition is asymptomatic, and you could only notice it when you comb your hair or when a bald circle appears on the scalp and other parts of the body that have hair. Fortunately, the alopecia does not permanently damage the hair follicles, and hair can regrow when the immunity settles down or when you apply different treatment plans.

 

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