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Alopecia Areata: symptoms, causes, and treatments

Alopecia is a word used to define hair loss. Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss caused by a medical condition in which hair falls out in round patches, on the scalp or elsewhere on the body. It occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles. The damage to the follicle is not usually permanent, and resolves itself within a year. However, in more rare cases, alopecia areata can cause permanent hair loss. Alopecia areata can affect both men and women, and is most common in people between the ages of 30 to 60. The most common pattern of alopecia areata are well-defined round spots of hair loss on the scalp. People who find that their hair does grow back may find it beneficial to begin taking a nutritional supplement. Hairfinity hair vitamins are filled everything that your hair needs to grow back strong and healthy. Continue reading for more  information about this common form of hair loss.

Alopecia Areata Testimonial

alopecia-areata

My name is Luis Velazquez and I’m from Las Vegas, NV. I have been suffering from a rare disease called Alopecia Areata for 13 months. I tried everything I could for a solution to the point that nothing was working. My fiancé and I have been looking for a cure or some sort of solution. Then my fiancé stumble on Hairfinity Instagram page and told me to give it a try. I was very skeptical about it because I really didn’t see any MEN trying it or anybody with Alopecia as bad as me using it plus I was on a tight budget. Having Alopecia not only affected me emotionally but it also it affected my social life, and work to the point that I was jobless. In the process of trying everything I suffered from depression and I even gain weight. But I order the Hairfinity supplement on June 17 and hoped for the best, it arrived on June 20 of 2014. But I didn’t start using it till July 1 2014, its August 3rd 2014 its been a month and 3 days and I have seen big improvement and big changes. I’m happy with the improvements and changes that I want to thank you guys so much for giving me hope again because I really thought I was never gonna get my hair again. The reason I’m writing this is because I want to give other people out there hope, and acknowledgement that there is some kind of help for Alopecia and that help is Hairfinity. With Hairfinity I’m getting my confidence back and hopefully I could get my job that I really love doing. Once again I want to Thank You guys from the bottom of my heart.”

P.S I attach a picture, from July 1 to August 1 of 2014

 

What are the signs and symptoms of alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is defined by patchy hair loss, in the form of round, smooth bare patches.  These tend to be round in shape, and about the size of a large coin. They can develop quite quickly. In some cases, the hair may become thinner without noticeable patches of baldness. It may also grow and break off, leaving short stubs of hair. In rare cases, there is a complete loss of hair on the scalp and body. The problem may be noticed at first due to clumps of hair on your pillowcase or in the shower. A relative, friend or hairdresser may be the first to notice the bald patch or patches, especially when located at the back of the head. The hair loss occurs mostly on the scalp, but can in some cases involve eyebrows, eyelashes and beards. The patches of hair loss can vary in size. The hair loss often comes and goes – with hair will growing back over several months in one area and later falling out in another. Apart from the bald patch or patches, the scalp usually looks healthy and there is generally no scarring. Occasionally, there is some mild redness, mild scaling, mild burning or a slightly itchy feeling on the bald patches.

Only about 10% of people with alopecia areata will not grow their hair back. The likelihood of permanent hair loss is increased if there is a family history of the condition. If you have the condition starting at a young age, have another autoimmune disease or are prone to allergies you could be susceptible to alopecia areata.

Alopecia areata can also affect your fingernails and toenails. Nails can have tiny pinpoint dents, white spots or lines, can be rough, lose their shine or become thin and split. Often the change in your nails is the first sign of alopecia areata. With alopecia areata the body is without hair in many areas. It is essential that individuals with alopecia areata apply a daily sunscreen to prevent exposure to unhealthy rays.

 

Who is affected by alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata affects both men and women and can occur at any age. Some patients with alopecia areata have a family member who also has the disease. If you have eczema, asthma or thyroid disease, you are more prone to alopecia. Alopecia areata occurs mainly in adults between the ages of 30 to 60 years of age, but can also affect older individuals, children and in rare cases, toddlers.

 

What causes alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease, wherein the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation. The immune system makes white blood cells and antibodies to protect against foreign objects such as bacteria, viruses, and other germs. With an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes a part of or parts of the body as foreign. In people with alopecia areata, many white blood cells gather around the affected hair follicles, which are mistakenly identified as foreign. This causes some mild inflammation which leads in some way to hairs becoming weak and falling out to cause the bald patches. It is not known why the disease only affects certain areas of the scalp. The affected hair follicles are not destroyed, and are capable of making normal hair again if the immune reaction is treated of and the situation returns to normal.

Genetics, in combination with other factors, trigger this form of hair loss. About 25% of patients have a family member with the disorder. However, genes alone are not going to cause this disease. Alopecia areata can also be associated with other autoimmune conditions such as thyroid disease, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. The diagnosis or treatment of these diseases is unlikely to affect the pattern of alopecia areata. There is also a link between alopecia areata and excessive stress or trauma in one’s life.

 

How is alopecia areata diagnosed?

If you notice sudden or patchy hair loss or shedding that is occurring more than usual, take a trip to see your doctor. A visit to your doctor is the first step in diagnosing alopecia areata. Your doctor will ask for a thorough medical history, family history and physical exam. The doctor will ask about what medicines you take, what allergies you have and your nutritional profile. They may ask you questions about your hair loss, look at the pattern of the hair loss and examine your scalp. If the patch of hair loss is expanding, the doctor may pull out a few hairs and look at them under a microscope. Occasionally the doctor will perform a skin biopsy to confirm that the disease is alopecia areata. Your doctor may perform blood tests to determine if the alopecia is a result of an underlying medical condition, such as thyroid disease, diabetes or lupus

Other findings that may be helpful to support the diagnosis of alopecia areata are the appearance of short fractured hairs, yellow areas of skin at the follicle, short thin hair and grey hair present in the bald area.

 

How is alopecia areata treated?

There is no cure for alopecia areata. Hair will often grow back on its own; although treatment can help the hair re-grow more quickly. A doctor may prescribe one or more of the following medications to help with re-growth.

  • Corticosteroids: this medication will suppress the immune system. It can be given as shots, with the doctor injecting the medicine into the places with hair loss. Sometimes a topical form of this medicine is used – in the form of a cream, lotion or ointment applied directly to the skin. For adults with alopecia areata, doctors generally start with the shots first as form of treatment. Patients receive shots every 3-6 weeks. Hair growth generally begins 4 weeks after the last shot, although it may take longer.
  • Minoxidil: this medication is used to help regrow the hair and can be used by both children and adults who experience alopecia areata. Patients apply the medication twice a day to the scalp. New hair will begin to grow after about 3 months. It can take up to one year for a complete response. If your condition does not improve 1 year after beginning Minoxidil, then discontinue use. This medicine is often used in conjunction with another treatment to maximize its effectiveness.
  • Anthralin: This medicine is used to alter the skin’s immune function. It is a tar-like substance that is applied to the skin and left on for 20 to 60 minutes. After the allotted time has passed, the anthralin is washed off to avoid any skin irritation.
  • Topical immunotherapy: this treatment can only be done by skin specialists and is thought to be the most effective treatment of alopecia areata. A substance is put on the affected skin to make the skin react like an allergy. A common substance used is diphencyprone (DPCP). The substance is placed on the skin once a week for several weeks in increasing strengths until the skin looks like it has mild dermatitis (eczema). The skin reaction seems to affect the process involved in causing alopecia areata to allow hair to regrow. There are side effects, however, and it is not recommended as a treatment for children. Once re-growth occurs, treatment can be stopped, but in many cases, hair loss may still re-occur. As a result, regular maintenance treatment is required to keep the hair loss from returning.

 

Because hair does generally grow back within a year, some may decide not to treat their alopecia areata. If you choose not to treat the condition, you may decide to use alternative treatments to help you cope with the disease.

  • Wear hairpieces: Hairpieces are usually made from human or synthetic hair and are a good alternative while your hair is in the process of re-growth.
  • Hair care products and styling techniques: Certain hair care products and styling techniques can help to make hair appear thicker. Dyes may also be used to color the scalp and to hide the patches of hair loss.
  • Hair vitamins: Hairfinity hair vitamins are a natural hair supplement that has ingredients proven to increase growth and improve the overall health of the hair.

 

While it is recommended to try a variety of treatments to help with alopecia areata, one must remember that the effectiveness of the treatments depends on the individual. The longer the period of time of hair loss and the larger the area involved, the less likely it is that hair will regrow. At times, alopecia areata can be quite stubborn in its response to treatment. Many patients continue to get recurrences despite therapeutic interventions. That being said, it is important to continue with treatments to find something that works for you.

 

How does alopecia areata affect daily life?

The signs and symptoms of alopecia areata will not make you feel pain, make you feel sick or result in any other serious health problems. It is not a contagious disease and cannot be passed on to others. People who have the disease are healthy in many other ways. Alopecia areata will not shorten your life and should not affect other daily activities such as going to school, work, raising a family, playing sports or exercising.

 

How to cope with alopecia areata

Living with alopecia areata can be difficult. There are many things that you can do to help you cope with the effects of the disease, including:

  • Learn about the disease: reading about alopecia areata, its symptoms and treatments can help you have a better understanding of what you are going through. Reading stories or comments online, on discussion boards or in chat rooms about other people who are also living with alopecia areata can show you how other people cope in various parts of the world.
  • Talk with others: If having alopecia areata is causing emotional stress, it is a good idea to talk about your feelings and thoughts with other people who are going through the same thing as you. There are many support groups out there specifically related to alopecia areata. If speaking with others in person is too intimidating, try putting your feelings up on a discussion board. There are many websites dedicated to people suffering from alopecia areata. It helps to say how you really feel to other people who are in the same situation and to know that you have their support.
  • Learn to value yourself for who you are: Try to not focus on the disease itself and how much hair has been lost; try to focus on the positive aspects of your life. Do whatever makes you feel better – whether wearing a bandanna, scarf or wig, or proudly showing off your baldhead.
  • Talk with a counselor: If necessary, talk with a counselor to help you rebuild a positive self-image.

 

The emotional aspects of living with alopecia areata are hard. Society often views hair as a sign of youth and good health. One of the most important things to remember through all of this is that you are not alone. There are millions of people in the world living with alopecia areata right now. While there is no cure for Alopecia areata there are medical and nutritional ways of treating it so that you can regrow your hair. Hairfinity hair vitamins are proven to help hair grow longer, stronger, healthier and faster. Alopecia areata does not affect your overall health and having it shouldn’t stop you from living your life to the fullest, each and every day! For more information about Alopecia areata or other hair conditions or natural hair treatments visit hairfinity.com.

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