Alopecia areata
Autoimmune diseases

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that affects the hair follicles and causes the hair to pull out of their follicles. It is also known as spot baldness. The pattern and amount of hair loss is different for different individuals. Some individual loss their hairs in just a little patch while others lose theirs in different sport on the head.

Many people who develop Alopecia are usually healthy. They may lose their hairs and at times, nails changes, however, they remain healthy. When Alopecia affects the nail, one may see ridges, dents or brittle nails, while some develop red colored nails.

Types of Alopecia areata

Although Alopecia areata is common in its form, there are, however rare other types such as:

Alopecia areata totalis which occur when an individual lose all the hairs on the head.

Alopecia areata universalis is the loss of hair over the entire body.

Diffuse Alopecia areata Occurs when the hair becomes thin rather than lost patches.

Ophiasis Alopecia areata Leads to loss of hair in bands around the sides and back of the head.


Alopecia symptoms

  • Some of the symptoms of A. areata include:
  • Formation of small patches on scalp or other body parts.
  • The formed patches may enlarge and grow together into a bald spot.
  • Hair loss occurs over a shot time.
  • More hair loss occurs during cold wealther
  • Fingernails become brittle, red and dented.


Causes of Alopecia areata and risk factors

Alopecia is caused by autoimmune attacks on the body. Most times, it is the hair follicles that are attacked. Some risk factors associated with the condition include:

  • Asthma
  • Down syndrome
  • Pernicious anaemia
  • Thyroid disease
  • Seasonal allergies



Alopecia has no cure. It can only be managed. Some of the drugs used in managing the it are:

Corticosteroids The anti-inflammatory drugs are administered by injection into the scalp area, given as a pill or rubbed on the skin as an ointment, cream, or foam. This method however, may take longer time to work.

Topical immunotherapy Used when the hair loss is severe and occurs more than once.

Minoxidil also known by a brand name, Rogaine. Minoxidil can help keep the hair growth stimulated by another treatment. It can be applied 2 to 3 times a day.



Chidubem Olovo is a biochemist, researcher and a content writer.

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