What is alopecia?
Known as an autoimmune disease, alopecia causes baldness. An individual’s immune system – the body’s defence system – turns on itself.
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 percent of affected families.
Who gets it?
Alopecia areata usually affects teenagers and young adults, but it can affect people of any age. It is just as common among men as women.
Is there a cure?
There is no known cure, although there are various treatments which may be effective for some people.