No Cure Yet for Alopecia

There’s currently no cure for alopecia areata. There are treatments that may help hair grow back more quickly and that can prevent future hair loss. There are also resources available to help people cope with the disease.

The main symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss. Hair loss might also occur on other parts of the body. Hair loss alone shouldn’t be used to diagnose alopecia areata.

It develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. The condition rarely results in total hair loss, or alopecia universalis, but it can prevent hair from growing back. When hair does grow back, it’s possible for the hair to fall out again.

In rare cases, some people may experience more extensive hair loss. This is usually an indication of another type of alopecia, such as:

If you have alopecia areata, however, your immune system mistakenly attacks your hair follicles. Hair follicles are the structures from which hairs grow. The follicles become smaller and stop producing hair, leading to hair loss.

The hair loss associated with alopecia areata is unpredictable and random. The hair may grow back at any time and then may fall out again. The extent of hair loss and regrowth varies greatly from person-to-person.

Researchers don’t know what triggers the immune system to attack hair follicles, so the exact cause of this condition isn’t known. They also believe that certain factors in the environment are needed to trigger alopecia areata in people who are genetically predisposed to the disease.

Blood tests might be done if other autoimmune conditions are suspected. If these autoantibodies are found in your blood, it usually means that you have an autoimmune disorder.

Your doctor may also perform a scalp biopsy to rule out other conditions that cause hair loss, including fungal infections, such as tinea capitis. During a scalp biopsy, your doctor will remove a small piece of skin on your scalp for analysis.

Your doctor will review your symptoms to determine if you have alopecia areata. They may be able to diagnose alopecia areata simply by looking at the extent of your hair loss and by examining a few hair samples under a microscope.

alopecia totalis, which is the loss of all hair on the scalp
alopecia universalis, which is the loss of all hair on the entire body

Other blood tests that can help rule out other conditions include the following:

C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate
iron levels
antinuclear antibody test
thyroid hormones
free and total testosterone
follicle stimulating and luteinizing hormone

Comments are closed.