What is alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that affects the hair on the head and body. The hair loss may be limited to one area or may lead to complete loss of hair. It occurs in 1-2% of the population with equal frequency in both sexes, and more recently it occurs quite frequently in children and adolescents.
Alopecia areata can have psychologically devastating consequences, such as depression or fear of social exclusion. It occurs in flares and remissions, with stress being a major factor.
It may co-exist with other autoimmune diseases such as:
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Addison’s disease
- autoimmune polyendocrinopathy
- atopic dermatitis
- Down’s syndrome
Other factors that lead to the development of alopecia areata are:
- Long-term stress
- Hormonal disorders
- Allergic reactions
- Seasonal changes