Alopecia areata is one of the common forms of hair loss. In fact, hair loss is the direct result of this autoimmune disease. When it happens, your hair will usually fall out in patches to form small clumps. Most often it affects the hair on your head, but sometimes it can also affect the hair on other parts of your body, as well. Here are some possible causes and recommended treatments for alopecia areata.
Causes of Alopecia Areata
There is no known cause of this autoimmune disease. What we do know is what happens in your body when it occurs. First, your body will detect a threat to your immune system. Then it will create antibodies to fight the perceived threat. In this case, it sees your hair follicles as a threat and thus attacks them. So, this is what causes the excessive falling out of clumps of hair from your head and your body.
Studies have failed to determine the pathobiology of alopecia areata. However, it tends to occur most often in people suffering from other illnesses that affect the immune system. For example, patients with rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop this problem. Some studies suggest that genes may also play a large part in its occurrence.
Treatments for Alopecia Areata
The good news about alopecia areata is that it doesn’t cause any pain. What’s more, your hair can grow back in the future. But even if it does, it can also fall out again without warning.
Most treatments for alopecia areata involve substances like minoxidil and ketoconazole. You rub them on your scalp to boost natural hair growth. Other options include steroid creams and injections. Also, some doctors treat this issue with medications designed for treating other diseases.