Definition of Alopecia Areata
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease, which is a condition in which the body's immune system attacks healthy cells in the body itself. This disease attacks the hair follicles. Hair follicles are structures where the hair will grow. This disease causes the hair follicles to become smaller and stop producing hair, initially causing hair loss to result in baldness if left untreated.
Risk Factors Alopecia Areata
- Various risk factors of alopecia areata, among others:
- The same history of illness on family members;
- Age increase;
- Other autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus erythematosus.
- It has abnormal color, shape, texture, or thickness of nails.
- Psychological problems, such as stress, depression, anxiety, or paranoid disorders.
Causes of Alopecia Areata
Autoimmune disorders are the cause of alopecia areata. There are several triggers of this disease, which can be caused by viruses, trauma, hormonal changes, physical pressure, or psychic distress. Other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes, are commonly often subjected to alopecia areata disease.
Symptoms of Alopecia Areata
Symptoms caused by alopecia areata, among others:
- Pattern baldness is rounded in one or more places that have been overgrown by hair, which is temporary but can also be permanent.
- Baldness that can extend to the whole of the scalp (alopecia totalis) and even throughout the body (alopecia universalis).
- The disruption of the finger and toe nails, in the form of shape-changing nails, has a white stripe with a thin, rough surface, or split.
- Baldness that can be accompanied by sensation of burning or itching on the scalp.
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Diagnosis of Alopecia Areata
The doctor will diagnose alopecia areata by conducting medical interviews, physical examinations, and supporting examinations such as:
- Analysis of the scalp samples by using a microscope in the laboratory, to ensure the cause of alopecia areata.
- Blood screening if suspected of autoimmune diseases, to examine abnormal antibodies, levels of C-reactive proteins, iron, thyroid hormones, testosterone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH).
Complications of Alopecia Areata
Some complications of alopecia areata, among others:
- Baldness becomes permanent.
- It has a greater risk of having a family with asthma, allergies, and other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease and vitiligo.
- Psychological disorders are emotional disorders due to lost confidence, which can develop into depression.
Alopecia Areata Treatment
To date, suitable treatment to cure alopecia areata disease is still not found. The treatment given aims to stimulate hair growth to re-grow faster. Medicines provided by the doctor, among others:
- Minoxidil to stimulate hair growth back.
- Corticosteroids to suppress immune system.
- Anthralin to affect the immune system of the skin.
- Diphencyprone (DPCP) to divert the body's defense system.
- Cream sunscreen and fake hair or hats to protect the scalp from sunlight.
- False eyelashes and spectacles are useful to protect the eyes of alopecia areata from dust.
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Prevention of Alopecia Areata
There are several preventive measures that can be done to prevent alopecia areata, among others:
- Restrict the use of hair care devices that are at risk of damaging or making hair dry.
- Restrict the use of chemicals to hair.
When to go to a doctor?
If you experience the above signs and symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately to find out the cause and get the right treatment. To perform the check-up, you can immediately make an appointment with your preferred doctor in the hospital.