Although alopecia [al-oh-PEE-shah] is a common disease, its name is not widely known, and even though it is not life-threatening, it's sporadic nature and tendency towards recurrence often has considerable psychological effects on the alopecia sufferer. Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss or baldness. It is the name which designates the reliably redundant and early fall out of hair that appears previously weakened by follicular obstruction. While in come cases there can be no cure, many times new treatment options offer hope for the alopecia sufferer.
While previous estimates on what substances 'normal' hair loss have been quoted as high as 100 to 150 hairs a day, recent studies show that number should actually be closer to 35 to 40 hairs a day. Yet what concerns us here is not the normal shedding of the hair, but rather abnormal hair loss, also known as alopecia. By the age of thirty-five, some forty percent of both men and women show some degree of hair loss. Partial or complete re-growth of hair can follow, but permanent loss of hair can occur when the roots of the hairs are severely damaged. Forms of this disease should be studied so that the alopecia sufferer can work towards a solution for their hair loss.
Types of Alopecia
Traction alopecia is a common cause of hair loss due to pulling forces exerted on the scalp hair. Traction alopecia is more common in women than in men because women are more involved with hairstyling practices such as braiding or chemical hair straightening, and they are more likely to use tight curlers and nylon brushes and to wear chignons or buns. Female pattern alopecia or baldness is less common than male pattern alopecia. Male and female pattern baldness is usually a genetic condition, although female pattern alopecia rarely leads to total loss of hair. The loss of hair from this type mostly starts at the front, the sides or on the top of the head. The hair loss from alopecia areata is typically seen in patches on the head and or body. Alopecia areata monolocularis means that hair loss occurs in one spot only, usually on the head. Alopecia areata multilocularis means that hair loss occurs in several spots, and loss may not be limited to the head. It can progress to the complete loss of hair from the head (called alopecia totalis) and can even spread to result in loss of all hair on the head and body. Called alopecia universalis, it is a severe form of alopecia areata. This alopecia sufferer experiences permanent loss of all body hair, including eyebrows, eyelashes, and hair in the pubic area and armpits. Toxic alopecia is characterized by the temporary loss of hair and is caused by an overuse of medications or some vitamins, or is bought on by certain diseases such as thyroid or postpartum disorders. Diffuse alopecia is the term for loss of hair after acute chronic systemic diseases, emotional stress, febrile illness or childbirth. Another common form of hair loss, postpartum alopecia is caused by hormonal changes during the course of a pregnancy. There is usually very little sign of these changes during the pregnancy itself, but rather a sudden and very excess loss of hair from three to nine months after the birth of the child. While this hair loss is often very traumatic for the new mother and alopecia sufferer, the hair growth cycle typically returns to normal within a year after the end of the pregnancy. Alopecia is a condition that is not limited to humans only, as it can also affect your cat or dog. As you can see there can be many types of alopecia sufferer.
Causes of Alopecia
Many autoimmune diseases, like lupus and AIDS can cause hair loss. An alopecia sufferer may have experienced mental or physical trauma. Those suffering from eczema may experience some hair loss as well. Vigorous combing and chemical bleaches and styling products can additionally irritate the scalp to cause further hair loss or it may be caused by the use of hair dryers, combs or any other heated metallic element capable of generating lesions on the scalp. Alopecia may occur because of nerve disorders, congenital abnormalities of the hair, genetic factors, heredity, alteration of the immune system, injuries and thyroid problems. Some medications like thallium, high doses of vitamin A and retinoid also cause a type of alopecia.
Treatments for the Alopecia Sufferer
As an alopecia sufferer , you should always discuss any medical treatment with your Health Care Provider. Physicians, especially dermatologists, must recognize this condition early to prevent irreparable hair loss. A professional will be able to advise you as to whether your condition will go away on its own, stop if you discontinue use of certain medications or end a habit, or if you can help yourself with a system of treatment. The most effective treatment is now available for purchase and use in the home. It consist of scalp hygiene products, nutritional supplements and a personal low level light laser brush that stimulates hair growth. Always buy from a reputable dealer that has FDA approval and a guarantee program.