Alopecia

Doctor’s Profile

 Dr. Afshan Abbassi. (MBBS)

Hair loss in Pakistan like other countries and regions of the world is a very universal issue. Many people in Pakistan suffer from this disease called alopecia.

What is alopecia areata?

Q: What is alopecia areata?

Ans: Alopecia areata is a condition that causes a person’s hair to fall out. It is an autoimmune disease; that is the person’s immune system attacks their body, in this case, their hair follicles.

What happens in alopecia areata?

Q: What happens in alopecia areata?

Ans:

.  The person’s hair begins to fall out, often in clumps. The extent of the hair loss varies; in some cases it is only in a few spots. In others, the hair loss can be greater.

On rare occasions, the person loses all of the hair on his or her head (alopecia areata totalis) or entire body (alopecia areata universalis).

It is believed that the person’s genetic makeup may trigger the autoimmune reaction of alopecia areata, along with other unknown triggers.

Alopecia areata is an unpredictable disease. In some people, hair grows back but falls out again later. In others, hair grows back and remains. Each case is unique. Even if someone loses all of his or her hair, there is a chance that it will grow back.

What is the reason for complete baldness?

Q: What is the reason for complete baldness?

Ans: The reason for complete baldness of hair is the excessive production of dihydrotestosterone.  This hormone deteriorates hair strands and ultimately you lose your hair completely.

Who is most likely to get it?

Q: Who is most likely to get it?

Ans:

Alopecia is not contagious but if you have a close family member with the disease your risk of developing it is slightly increased. Alopecia areata is seen in men, women, and children. In a few people, hair loss may occur after a major life event such as an illness, pregnancy, or trauma.

Forms of alopecia include:

  • Alopecia areata — patches of hair loss
  • Alopecia totalis — complete loss of scalp hair
  • Alopecia universalis — total loss of all body hair

How is alopecia Diagnosed?

Q: How is alopecia Diagnosed?

Ans: Alopecia is diagnosed through a medical history and physical examination. A hair analysis is done, and a scalp sample is also sometimes taken. And blood tests are also done specifically to determine thyroid condition.

How is alopecia treated?

Q: How is alopecia treated?

Ans:

Although there is neither a cure for alopecia areata nor drugs approved for its treatment.

If hair loss is not widespread, the hair will often re grow in a few months without treatment.

Common  treatments  may include:

  • Steroid injection under the skin surface
  • Medicines applied to the skin including corticosteroids, immunotherapy and minoxidil.

Is the hair loss a symptom of a serious disease?

Q: Is the hair loss a symptom of a serious disease?

Ans: Alopecia areata is not a life threatening disease. It does not cause any physical pain, and people with this condition are generally healthy otherwise.

Will the hair ever grow back?

Q: Will the hair ever grow back?

Ans: There is every chance that your hair will re-grow with or without treatment, but it may fall out again. The course of the disease varies from person to person.

Full recovery of hair is common.

Prognosis

However some people have a poorer outcome including those with:

  • Alopecia areata  that starts at a young age
  • Eczema
  • Long term alopecia
  • Widespread or complete loss of body hair.

There are medical and non medical treatments offered in Pakistan to treat alopecia, on the other hand if you are suffering from complete baldness of hair then the only solution is hair transplant surgery. While the disease is not medically serious it can impact people psychologically.