Alopecia areata, or spot baldness, is an autoimmune condition where a person loses hair from one or all parts of the body. In most cases, people suffering from alopecia have small, coin sized bald spots on their scalp. In some rare cases, alopecia can cause a person to lose all of the hair on their entire head or body.
There is one main factor that can increase a person’s probability of having alopecia, heredity. Since it is an autoimmune disease, it has been found that the body attacks the hair follicles.
There is not a cure for alopecia. In some cases, sufferers have been able to regrow some of their hair using hair creams. In these situations the hair returns with no future outbreaks of the condition. In many cases, the hair is permanently lost.
In most cases, alopecia is diagnosed through an examination and observation of hair loss over time. A trichoscopy can also be used to find out if a person has alopecia. In some rate cases, a biopsy might be needed.
Most people who suffer from alopecia find their hair growing back within a year although there are some who never get their hair back. There are no long-term health effects that go along with alopecia, except for problems with self-image. Some people who suffer from alopecia also struggle with their self-esteem because of their changing appearance. It is fairly common for someone who is dealing with alopecia to also struggle with anxiety, depression, and avoid social events. The condition only affects a very small number of people; only an estimated .2% of the population.