Alopecia

Alopecia also known as hairloss or baldness, refers to a loss of hair from part of the head or body. The head is most commonly involved. The severity of hair loss can vary from a small area to the entire body. Hair loss may occur naturally or it may be related to disease or the use of certain medications. Symptoms of alopecia vary depending on the cause of the condition and range from a small bald patch to a complete loss of all body hair. Diffuse alopecia (thinning scalp hair) is common among seniors, both men and women.

There are a number of different types of alopecia and some of them are more common.

Male-Pattern baldness

This is the most common form of alopecia. Also called androgenetic alopecia, this form of baldness is hereditary and is due to a combination of genetics and the male hormone dihydrotestosterone. In male-pattern baldness, the hairline typically recedes and the hair becomes thin.

Female-Pattern baldness

Baldness can also affect women, seems to be more likely to affect post-menopausal women, a result of hormonal changes.

Alopecia areata

Also referred to as patchy baldness. Men, women and children of any age may be affected and usually the patches occur on the scalp. It is caused by % c+ immune system disorder and people with autoimmune conditions are more likely to be affected.

Anagen effluvium

This is a form of hair loss that may affect the whole body, scalp and face. Anagen effluvium is mostly occurs after chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunotherapy for treating cancers. The alopecia is usually temporary and hair regrow after treatment is stopped.

Telogen effluvium

In this form hair fall is more than usual. Head hair does feel thinner, but complete hair loss is unlikely. The condition is temporary. Telogen effluvium can be caused by the following:

  • Extreme emotional or physical stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Chronic diseases
  • Dietary changes or crash dieting
  • Severe infections
  • Certain medications

Scarring alopecia

Also called cicatricial alopecia. This is a permanent hair loss caused by rare conditions such as scleroderma and discoid lupus. The hair follicles are completely destroyed and hair does not grow again.

Treatment

If your hair loss is caused by an underlying disease, treatment for that disease will be necessary.

Medications are available are:

  • Finasteride and minoxidil can be used to treat male-pattern baldness and the latter is also a treatment for female-pattern baldness.
  • Alopecia areata may be treated with steroids or immunotherapy.
  • PRP Therapy or platelet rich plasma therapy is very effective and popular treatment where PRP is is derived from patients blood is injected in affected area. It stimulates the hair regrowth from hair follicles and stops the hair fall. Low level laser therapy and microneedling also improve hair density.
  • Alopecia may also be treated using surgical methods such as hair transplant or implants. Alternatively, a person may decide to use a wig, which may be synthetic or made of real hair.