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What is alopecia?

What is alopecia?

As an autoimmune disease, alopecia affects the immune system and the body’s defence system, resulting in hair loss or baldness in patches in the short term and eventually causing complete hair loss in the whole body when the immune system turns on the body.

What are the symptoms?

It is common to have one or more small patches of baldness on the scalp, about the size of a 50p piece. Hair may grow back at one site while another bald patch develops. ‘Hair may start to thin all over the head.

What causes it?

Due to some mysterious reason, the body’s immune system attacks its own hair follicles. T-lymphocytes, which are white blood cells specific to the body, cause the hair to stop growing

Can worry make it worse?

Stress has been shown to prolong the symptoms. 

Is it an inherited condition?

In addition, there is evidence that alopecia is inherited, as is the case with many auto-immune diseases. Alopecia occurs in approximately 25 per cent of affected families.

Who gets it?

There is a higher prevalence of alopecia among men than women, and it usually affects teenagers and young adults, but it can also affect older people if it is just as common among men and women.

Is there a cure?

There is no known cure, although there are various treatments which may be effective for some people.

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