Alopecia Areata (AA) is believed to be an autoimmune condition where a malfunction or ”misunderstanding” in the immune system leads the white blood cells, which form a vital part of the body’s immune system, to attack the body’s own cells or tissue. In the case of AA, the hair follicle is attacked causing the hair follicle to stop producing hair.
Research on Alopecia Areata at My Hair Clinic
At My Hair Clinic we are testing a new treatment protocol for AA. The results from the very first patient are promising.
The patient was female, in a state between Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis with very limited head hair, primarily at the back of the head. Hair loss in the eyebrows and body hair, while eyelashes were not affected. Further the patient had very limited growth of her nails, that were fragile. The following milestones have been noted
- Improvement in nail conditions in 14 days. Better shape, shine and growth of the nails
- Visible regrowth in scalp hair in 28 days
- Regrowth of body-hair and eyebrows in 49 days
- Regrowth of nearly 50% of scalp hair (assessed visually) in 56 days
- Regrowth of 90-95% (assessed visually) of scalp hair after 165 days. One stubborn area remains in the right temples. Possibly the site of injection of steroids at another clinic before coming for treatment at My Hair Clinic
Drawing any final conclusions at this stage, would be premature and many more treatments and patients would be needed for a final verdict on this treatment. However, so far the results have been promising.
There are a number of characteristics for AA
- 20% of people with AA have a family member who has or has had AA
- Patients with AA may often have other autoimmune conditions such as atopy, vitiligo and thyroid disease
- 50% of patients will usually recover spontaneously within a year
- In some patients the condition may relapse
- Nearly 1/3 of the patients has a more severe form where the hair loss is more extensive or they alternate between hair loss and hair regrowth
- 10% of patients with AA may develop Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis
- Approximately 25% of the patients may experience changes in finger- and toenail with rough, thin and split nails and less growth
- Stress does not cause AA but it can trigger an ”outbreak” or flare up
Depending on the severity of the conditions AA is divided into three groups
- Alopecia Areata: One or more patches of hair loss most commonly in the head, or face but can be on any part of hair-bearing skin
- Alopecia Areata: Complete or nearly complete loss of scalp-hair
- Alopecia Universalis: Complete or near complete loss of hair on the scalp and body, including eyebrows, eyelashes, armpits and pubic hair
Treatment of Alopecia Areata
However frustrating, it’s important to remember that there is no cure for AA.
In the most common form, Alopecia Areata (AA) hair loss is seen in one or more bald patches or spots. In most patients, the hair will grow back spontaneously and no treatment is required.
In severe cases of AA, whether in the extent of hair loss or duration, various treatments can be tried out. As there is no cure, the response to the treatment can vary greatly. Even after a complete regrowth of hair, the condition may relapse.
Treatment options include, but are not limited to
- Steroids, given orally, as injections or topically
- Topical treatments with Minoxidil
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
- DiPhenylCycloPropenone (DPCP)
Patients suffering from AA can contact My Hair Clinic
As mentioned above, the results from our research into Alopecia Areata look very promising. However, we do require more patients to verify the results and fine tune the treatment protocol. Patients suffering from Alopecia Areata are welcome to contact My Hair Clinic for further information about AA.
Below Dr Hussain gives an introduction to Alopecia Areata, also called Bal Char in Urdu and Hindi.
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