The following sections will discuss all areas that pertain to this disease, including a description, the causes, signs and systems, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis, as well as, some pictures. To begin, one must understand what Alopecia Areata actually is. The National Alopecia Areata Foundation (2011) describes Alopecia Areata as a common autoimmune disease, with no known cause, which attacks the hair follicles and leads to round patches of loss of hair usually on the scalp, but can be found elsewhere on the body. This disease affects 4. 7 million people in the U. S. nd approximately 2 percent of the overall population. Even though this disease is cyclical and highly unpredictable, the main sign and/or symptom is hair loss. But, some individuals have complained of itching and burning sensations. This disease usually starts with one or two patches, roundish in shape, on the scalp, but can be found in beards, eyebrows, legs, and arms. Once noticed, some tests are available to help in determining if it is indeed Alopecia Areata. These tests consist of a biopsy, as well as, several blood tests to check to see if it related to other autoimmune conditions.
About one in five individuals that are affected by this disease have a family history with this condition (Vorvick, Berman, & Zieve, 2010). The following pictures allow one to see what this disease may look like. (Vorvick, Berman, & Zieve, 2010) When it comes to the treatments, if the hair loss is not widespread it may not be needed because the hair is likely to regrow in a couple of months. But for more severe cases, there are some treatments available even though it is not clear if these will change the course of the condition (Vorvick, Berman, & Zieve, 2010).
Some of these typical therapies are steroid injections, such as Celestone, topical minoxidil, corticosteroids, and immunotherapy, and ultraviolet light therapy (Brannon, 2008). The prognosis for this disease turns out pretty well in most cases, but can have a poorer outcome in some individuals, including those who get it at an young age and those with Eczema (atopic dermatitis). In the most extreme cases it could lead to more widespread of affected areas or complete loss of scalp hair, know as Alopecia Totalis, and/or Alopecia Universalis which is the total loss of scalp and body hair (Vorvick, Berman, & Zieve, 2010). References