It is an erratic form of hair loss that affects about 2-4% of the total human population but people affected by it are known to feel quite embarrassed about it. While researchers and medical experts and constantly working towards possible solutions and there have been major breakthroughs in research too, there is still a cloud of mystery around its origin and causes. What is even stranger to note is the fact that it affects both men as well as women.
Let us get a better understanding of Alopecia Areata from what we already know.
What is Alopecia Areata?
Talking from common man’s perspective, Alopecia Areata is an ailment that leads to hair loss from different areas of the body; primarily the scalp and the crown of the head. It also has a nickname ‘spot baldness’ as it is known to cause several bald spots in the first stage itself. In certain extreme cases, (1 to 2% of total cases of Alopecia Areata) the hair loss is observed throughout the epidermis; the outer layer of the skin or what we commonly know as the scalp.
An interesting point to note about this ailment is the fact that it only affects growing hair and follicles. Resting hair follicles are known to remain unaffected by it. Also, at times even the growing hair follicles are known to enter a state known as Talogen a temporary resting state which helps them avoid the worst effects of this ailment. However this does trigger severe hair shedding and if the ailment is severe, the Talogen stage is known to continue for prolonged periods of time too. In fact, even if the hair follicles do attempt to return to a state of Anagen or what we commonly know as growth state, the natural immune system of our body will force them back into the resting state.
As such, one of the aspects of the treatment of Alopecia Areata is in fact based on this knowledge of the human immune system. Doctors attempt to inhibit the action of the immunity cells on the hair follicles and also work towards promoting the resting hair follicles to resume new growth.
What are the various types of Alopecia Areata?
There are basically five types of Alopecia Areata:
- Diffuse Alopecia Areata
- Alopecia Areata Universalis
- Alopecia Areata Totalis
- Alopecia Areata Multilucarisis
- Alopecia Areata Monolucarisis
Diffuse Alopecia Areata is said to occur when an extremely depressing or stressful situation causes a person to lose all of his or her dark hairs and only the white and grey hair are left behind.
When a person loses all the hair on their body, he can be classified as suffering from Alopecia Areata Universalis. Also, if a person only loses hair of the bear then he can be classified as suffering from Alopecia Arata Barbae.