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Definition

Alopecia areata is a common and unpredictable form of hair loss. This disorder affects all age most commonly in children and adolescents. Alopecia areata affects both males and females. This type of hair loss is different than male pattern baldness, an inherited condition.
Alopecia areata is found in three stages. In the firststage, there is sudden hair loss. In the second stage patches of hair loss enlarge, and last, new hair grows back. This process takes months; sometimes more than a year.

Causes

About 90 percent of the hair on most people's scalps is in a two- to six-year growth (anagen) stage at any given time. The cause is not known. Scientists think that a person’s genes may play a role. For people whose genes put them at risk for the disease, some type of trigger starts the attack on the hair follicles. The triggers may be a virus or something in the person’s environment.
Alopecia areata is sometimes associated with other autoimmune conditions such as allergic disorders, thyroid disease, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. Sometimes, alopecia areata occurs within family members, suggesting a role of genes and heredity.

Symptoms

Alopecia areata usually begins when clumps of hair fall out, resulting in totally smooth, round hairless patches on the scalp. In some cases the hair may become thinner without noticeable patches of baldness, or it may grow and break off, leaving short stubs. AA usually has no associated symptoms, but there may be minor discomfort or itching prior to developing a new patch. Nails may have tiny pinpoint dents and may rarely become distorted.

Treatment

It is a tremendous opportunity to create a well-organized resource that will help researchers develop new treatments, diagnostic tools and prevention measures. Patients identified through the study will be first in line for clinical trials of any new therapies.

Treatment depends on the extent of the disease, and the age of the patient. For small patchy disease, intralesional steroid injections are the best approach. Hair loss due to infection may require oral antibiotics or antifungals. Alopecia areata can be treated with injections of steroids such as triamcinolone into the area.

The most successful treatment to date has been immunotherapy. Immunotherapy works by provoking a contact allergic dermatitis in affected areas by applying a low concentration of a material to which the patient has been made allergic. This is most often diphenylcyclopropenone.

Steroid injections and cream to the scalp have been used for many years. Other medications include minoxidil, irritants, and topical immunotherapy, each of which are sometimes used in different combinations are good for treatment.

Alopecia Areata shampoo: there are various shampoo available in market. which can be used by prescription from a regular practitionar.

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