All About Alopecia Areata

In our two-part series on diseases that can cause hair loss, we briefly discussed alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the hair follicles. Because alopecia areata is such a common cause of patchy hair loss and thinning hair, we thought it deserved a more in-depth discussion.

Although alopecia areata – which is more commonly referred to as simply alopecia – is relatively well-known, there are several aspects of the disease that are less commonly known or understood. We’ll focus on those in this post.

alopecia areata

First, alopecia areata does not only cause the loss of hair on the head. It can also cause hair on the face and, occasionally, other parts of the body.

Second, alopecia areata often makes its first appearance during childhood. The lifetime risk of being diagnosed with the disease is around 2 percent.

Third, alopecia areata is fairly common. It affects people of all ages and ethnic groups, and both men and women are at risk. The National Alopecia Areata Foundation estimates that as many as 6.8 million people in the United States have the disease.

Fourth, as a “polygenic disease,” both parents must contribute a set number of specific genes in order for their child to develop alopecia areata. Therefore, it is not a given that a parent with the disease will pass it to their children. It is also believed to be influenced by environmental factors, which makes the genetic risks of the disease more difficult to predict.

Finally, alopecia areata usually does not cause complete hair loss, but instead, causes hair to fall out in patches. (There is one form of the disease, called alopecia totalis, that does cause total hair loss, but that is less common.) The hair follicles remain alive, leaving the possibility of hair regrowth. In many cases, however, the disease often prevents hair from regrowing where it was previously lost, and hair that does regrow may fall out once again. This is where our Minneapolis hair restoration experts come in.

At DK International, we offer a variety of hair replacement services, including hairsystems, hair extensions, wigs and hair solutions. We can customize a solution to fit your budget and needs. Give our Bloomington, MN hair restoration experts a call to set up a free consultation.

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