Alopecia Areata (AA) is believed to be an autoimmune conditions 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.
There are a number of charateristics
- 20% of people with AA has 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
- Around 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 could trigger an ”outbreak” or flare up
Depending on the severety 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 hairbearing 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, eyelaches, armpits and pubic hair
Treatment of Alopecia Areata
However, frustrating, it’s important to remeber that there is no cure for AA.
In the most common form, Alopecia Areata (AA) is hair loss 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 conditions may relapse.
Treatment options include, but are not limited to
- Steriods, given orally, as injections or topically
- Topical treatments with Minoxidil
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
- DiPhenylCycloPropenone (DPCP)
At My Hair Clinic we are testing a new treatment protocol for AA with 8 monthly treatments. On the first patient with conditions somewhere between Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis the following milestones have been noted
- Improvement in nail conditions 2 weeks after the first treatment. Better shape, shine and growth of the nails
- Visible regrowth in scalp hair 4 weeks after the frist treatment
- Regrowth of bodyhair and eyebrows 3 weeks after the second treatment
- Nearly regrowth of 50% of scalp hair 4 weeks after the second treatment
Status 8 weeks after the first and 4 weeks after the second treatment
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.
Below Dr Hussain gives an introduction to Alopecia Areata, also called Bal Char in Urdu and Hindi.
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