Alopecia areata is one type of hair loss disorders that causes patches of baldness. It may develop into total baldness. In some cases, the hair loss is permanent. There are treatments to promote hair re-growth which work in some cases.
Symptoms of Alopecia Areata
Typically there are no other symptoms besides hair loss in Alopecia Areata condition. But some people may experience a burning sensation or itching. It usually begins as one to patches of hair loss, most often on the scalp. Patches may also appear in the beard, eyebrows and arms or legs.
Roundish patches of hair are smooth and characterized by peach-colored. Often within 6 months after symptoms first start, loss of all scalp hair (alopecia totalis) might occur.
Loss of all scalp and body hair are other conditions known as alopecia universalis.
Causes of Alopecia Areata
The immune system attacks the hair follicles causing hair loss. When alopecia areata develops, the body attacks its own follicles. A person’s genetic makeup, along with other factors, spurs this form of hair loss.
The cause of alopecia areata is currently unknown. Alopecia areata can occur in men, women and children.
Diagnosing Alopecia Areata
Diagnosing alopecia areata is conducted via a scalp biopsy. Several blood tests may also be performed due to the nature of the hair loss disorder that occurs with autoimmune conditions.
Without these tests, it is not possible to accurately diagnose alopecia areata.
The following are diagnostic blood tests for alopecia areata:
- DHEAS, Testosterone, Androstenedione, Prolactin, Follicle Stimulating and Leutinizing Hormone
- Serum Iron, Serum Ferritin, TIBC (Total Iron Binding capacity)
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)