What is Alopecia?

Alopecia is sudden hair loss that starts with one or more circular bald patches and may start overlapping. It primarily occurs when the immune system attacks hair follicles and may also be brought on by severe stress. The main symptom is full body hair loss, circular or patchy bald spots, sudden loosening of hair, and more. The diagnoses include a physical examination, hair loss history in the family, change in diet or diet restrictions, and in some severe cases, doctors may recommend a biopsy.

 To be aware of the symptoms of Alopecia, its complications, and the ways to prevent it, you can read this article.

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24 feb 2022
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What is Alopecia?

Alopecia can be understood to be the condition of hereditary hair loss that presently plagues tons of people spread across the world. Alopecia can adversely impact the hair on your scalp or can impact hair growing all over your body. While alopecia primarily occurs among older adults, excessive hair loss can also occur among children.

 

On average, people have around 100,000 hairs on their heads and ordinarily lose between 50 to 100 strands of hair on a daily basis. Given the amount of hair previously mentioned, this loss isn’t noticeable.

 

Ordinarily, new hair replaces hair that is lost. However, this does not always happen. Hair loss can occur gradually or can occur abruptly and can either be temporary or permanent.

 

The term alopecia encompasses different forms of hair loss. Owing to the fact that hair loss can occur due to different reasons, treatment methods vary.

Types of Alopecia

Alopecia types can be broadly classified as follows.

  • Androgenic alopecia

    Common among both men and women, it is commonly referred to as male- or female-pattern hair loss. Women will find that their part continues to expand whereas men who suffer from this will either go completely or partially bald.

  • Alopecia areata

    Referred to as patchy baldness, it involves bald patches turning up on any part of their body including the scalp.

  • Alopecia totalis

    This form of alopecia results in entire hair loss on the scalp.

  • Traction alopecia

    Constant pulling or stretching hair can lead to this form of hair loss.

  • Cicatricial alopecia

    This form of alopecia leads to scarring and involves inflammation that ends up destroying hair follicles.

What are the Symptoms of Alopecia?

Hair loss can occur in several ways depending on its underlying cause. Alopecia symptoms include the following.

 

  • Circular or patchy bald spots

  • Full-body hair loss

  • Gradual thinning occurring at the top of the head

  • Patches of scaling that spread across the scalp

  • Sudden loosening of hair

What are the Causes of Alopecia?

Alopecia causes include the following.

  • Hair loss is heredita

    While there exist several reasons that contribute to hair loss, the primary reason is hereditary male- or female-pattern baldness.

  • Hormonal changes

    These changes can be brought on by pregnancy, childbirth, the discontinuation of birth control pills and menopause.

  • Medical conditions

    These include thyroid disease, alopecia areata and scalp infections.

  • Medication

    Medicines used to treat cancer, depression and arthritis can each cause hair loss.

    Physical and emotional shocks

  • Trichotillomania

    Those that suffer from hair-pulling disorder can lose hair

  • Poor diet

    Diets that lack protein, iron and additional nutrients can lead to hair loss.

Risk factors For Alopecia

The following factors can increase the risk of hair loss.

 

  • Age

  • Family history of balding on either parent’s side

  • Medical conditions like lupus and diabetes can lead to alopecia

  • Poor nutrition

  • Significant weight loss

  • Stress

Diagnosis of Alopecia

Alopecia is diagnosed by doctors and dermatologists in the following ways.

  • Physical examination

    Hair loss can be examined on one’s scalp.

  • Health history

    The history of hair loss in one’s family and one’s own health history can be discussed to assess the likelihood of alopecia.

  • Diet

    A doctor may deem the current diet one follows to be lacking and can recommend appropriate dietary changes.

  • Biopsy

    In the event a doctor or dermatologist feels you might suffer from an autoimmune or skin disease, they may ask you to do a biopsy of the skin on your scalp.

Complications in Alopecia

People who suffer from alopecia are more likely to develop psychosocial complications associated with hair loss including anxiety and depression.

 

People who suffer from alopecia areata need to be assessed for autoimmune conditions like thyroid and vitiligo.

Alopecia Treatment

Alopecia can be treated in a number of ways. Read on to understand the same.

  • Topical medication:

    This is ordinarily the first course of action and ordinarily involves a number of topical creams and gels that are applied directly to the scalp. One of the most common ingredients used in these products is minoxidil.

  • Oral medication:

    Oral medication such as finasteride may be prescribed for male pattern baldness. Corticosteroids are also popular as they help reduce inflammation brought on by alopecia areata.

  • Medical procedures:

    Hair transplant surgeries and scalp reductions can be performed in a bid to make the hair appear healthy and lustrous. These medical procedures tend to be expensive and can carry risks including wide scars, bleeding and patchy hair growth.

Home Remedies for Alopecia

Alopecia remedies to try out at home include the following.

  • Hair massage:

    Massaging your scalp can help restore hair growth and can be done with hair oils and masks. By getting your hair massaged you can improve the thickness of your hair.

  • Aloe vera:

    Aloe vera has been effectively used for a long time to treat hair loss. It can help reduce dandruff and can soothe the scalp and condition your hair.

  • Coconut oil:

    This oil is made up of fatty acids that seep into the hair shaft and reduce the protein loss that hair experiences. Coconut oil can be used either prior to or after washing your hair depending upon the type of hair you have.

  • Viviscal:

    This is a natural hair-growth supplement that aids the growth of hair among those that have thinning hair.

  • Fish oil:

    Omega fatty acids are made up of nutrients and proteins that help aid hair growth.

  • Ginseng:

    Ginseng supplements help stimulate hair follicles and can help spur on the growth of hair.

Here Are Some Tips to Prevent Alopecia

Alopecia can be prevented by incorporating the following suggestions.

 

  • Avoid tight hairstyles like braids, ponytails and buns that put pressure on your hair and can end up permanently damaging hair follicles.

  • Gentle baby shampoos are ideal for those with weak hair.

  • People who have excessively oily hair should try to wash their hair often.

  • Hair should be patted dry rather than rubbed dry with a towel.

  • Styling tools and products ought to be avoided as they lead to hair loss. These tools include blow dryers, hair straighteners, coloring products, bleaching agents, heated combs and relaxers.

  • If you would like to style your hair with heated tools make it a point to do so when it is at the lowest possible setting and your hair is dry.

Conclusion

Alopecia cures range from oral and topical medication to medical procedures. It is important to always consult a doctor prior to following any of these courses of action. Home remedies can always be followed to maintain and promote the growth of good hair. You can ensure that the medical costs incurred should you suffer from alopecia or any similar ailments are covered by investing in a good health insurance plan. Visit Finserv MARKETS to explore various such plans before choosing which one best suits your needs.

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