Alopecia Hair Loss- Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

Published: 23rd April 2009
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According to some estimates, two persons out of every hundred suffer with some form of alopecia hair loss. The condition can range in gravity from small bald patches, to complete hair loss on the scalp to total loss of body hair altogether.

This simple fact sheet answers the main questions people have regarding alopecia hair loss:

Just what is a simple, complete definition of alopecia hair loss?

First let's get the pronunciation right. The four syllables are pronounced al-oh-PEE-shah with emphasis on the third syllable PEE.

Merriam Webster's dictionary gives the following definition: loss of hair, wool, or feathers. It obviously can effect other creatures apart from humans!

However, in humans a good definition would be: partial or complete hair loss.

The condition is commonly referred to by it's full title: alopecia areata with additional words describing the severity or area affected:

Monolocularis: Any single bald spot on the head

Multilocularis: Multiple bald spots on the head

Barbae: Bald patches only on the beard

Totalis: Hair loss on the whole head and scalp

Universalis: Total loss of all body hair

How does a person get Alopecia hair loss?

This condition is not limited to a particular segment of the population. It can affect males and females of all ages and races.

Heredity can play a role it appears, as 20% of individuals with the condition have family members who suffer with alopecia hair loss.

However, it is unlikely children inherit the condition from their parents. Statistics show that the majority of children with alopecia hair loss did not have parents who suffered with it. Conversely, the majority of parents with the condition did not have children who suffered with it.

Alopecia hair loss is an autoimmune disease which can be triggered by a virus or some other agent in the environment causing the body's protective white blood cells to mistakenly attack the cells that grow in the hair follicle to make hair.

The condition is not contagious!

The big question - Will hair grow back?

This varies from person to person. Here is a sampling of how different individuals are affected:

Hair regrows but falls out again

Hair loss is limited to a few patches, it regrows and never falls out again

Hair is lost and then regrows with this sequence repeating itself over many years

In the majority of cases, the hair that regrows is the same color as the hair that was lost

In a few cases, the hair that regrows is white but then gradually regains its original color

It can be seen from this review that the effects of alopecia hair loss are quite unpredictable.

So what is the remedy for alopecia hair loss?

Scientists are still grappling with trying to find a satisfactory treatment for alopecia hair loss. A variety of drugs are currently used which can have a positive effect on hair growth, although there is no ideal solution at this time. These include:

Minoxidil or Rogaine, an FDA approved drug for treating male and female pattern hair loss

Corticosteroids - strong drugs used to suppress the immune system

An excellent support organization for alopecia hair loss sufferers is the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. Their stated mission is to: "support research to find a cure or acceptable treatment for alopecia areata, to support those with the disease, and to educate the public about alopecia areata." You can check out their support network on their web site

There are various ways of coping with the changes in appearance, depending of course on how severe the condition is. These include using scarves, hats, jewelry, clothing, and cosmetics to camouflage the effects of alopecia hair loss.

The National Alopecia Areata Foundation has a network and message board system putting sufferers in touch with each other where they can exchange ideas and suggestions.


Do you have questions about Minoxidil/Rogaine? Get comprehensive answers here:

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