Hair, especially a woman’s hair, is considered her crowning glory and that’s why hair loss, hair fall and related conditions can cause a lot of mental anguish. Men are very conscious about their looks too, and when it comes to conditions like alopecia, it can impact the self-esteem of both men and women equally.
What Is Alopecia?
By definition, Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes loss of hair on the head and other parts of the body. An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy hair follicles to shrink them and eventually stop the growth of new hair. The hair loss is sometimes irreversible and can be a cause of major trauma for many.
Studies show that alopecia affects almost 6.8 million people in the U.S. and 147 million across the world. The condition shows no bias when it comes to gender, race or ethnicity and can happen to anyone. It may sometimes manifest in early childhood and can be different for each individual.
Alopecia is categorized into three types:
- Alopecia areata patchy: Most common form symptomized by single or multiple bald patches on the scalp or other parts of the body
- Alopecia totalis: Symptomized by complete hair loss on the scalp
- Alopecia universalis: Symptomized by total hair loss on the scalp and body
Though there is no cure for alopecia, its symptoms may be treatable.
Symptoms of Alopecia
All types of alopecia have some kind of hair loss and common symptoms include:
- Small patches of hair loss on the scalp, face or other areas
- Simultaneous hair loss and regrowth in different parts of the body
- Quick and significant hair loss
- Hair loss concentrated on one side of the scalp
- Hair strands that are narrow at the root
- Rows of tiny dents on the fingernails
Since this condition causes hair loss, mainly on the scalp, individuals diagnosed with alopecia often find it embarrassing to socialize. Even though the condition does not cause any physical pain, it can cause a lot of emotional distress, which can be excruciating too.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), people with conditions like alopecia stand a higher chance of entering depression compared to others who do not have such ailments.
This happens because people with alopecia often feel embarrassed, lonely, angry at having been diagnosed with such a condition and overall grief, which are all classic signs and symptoms of depression.
Severe alopecia can change a person’s appearance drastically, much like chemotherapy. It’s helpful to remember that life goes on and there are wigs, scarves and fun accessories that can change your appearance and outlook to live for the better.
The content of this Website is for informational purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and does not constitute professional advice. The information on this Website should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program and/or any of the beauty treatments.
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Alopecia Areata. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.naaf.org/alopecia-areata
What Is Alopecia Areata? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/alopecia-areata#1
Honegan, L. H. (2017, August 24). The Impact Alopecia Areata Had On My Self-Esteem. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/leynnajay-honegan/post_15672_b_17803630.html?guccounter=1