What is alopecia - Definition of alopecia - Hair loss

Apr 2014   Poliosis causes, symptoms and treatment
What is alopecia? Alopecia is the medical term for loss of hair from any part of the body. Alopecia means generalized hair loss as patches or total in hairy parts of the body such as head, chin, eyebrows or eyelashes. Unlike alopecia, baldness is specific
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to head and is usually defined as the condition of having no hair on the top of the head. The pattern of hairlessness may be focal, multifocal, symmetric, or generalized.
Definition of alopecia
thefreedictionary.com definition: "Alopecia simply means hair loss (baldness)."
merriam-webster.com definition: "loss of hair, wool, or feathers :  baldness."
National Library of Medicine definition: "Partial or complete loss of hair is called alopecia."

What are the types of alopecia?

Alopecia can be broadly categorized into genetic and acquired types. Types with genetic predisposition are:
  • Androgenetic alopecia is male pattern and female pattern baldness.
  • Alopecia areata is a condition caused by autoimmune disorders.
  • Alopecia universalis is total hairlessness on the head, eyebrows, eyelashes and body.
  • In alopecia totalis there is total baldness of the head.
Acquired baldness encompasses all other types of hairlessness:
alopecia hair loss
Hair loss
  • Trichotillomania is a psychological disorder in which the patient develops the compulsive urge to pull out his own hair.
  • Telogen effluvium is rapid excessive hair loss brought about by stress factors such as parturition, febrile illness, major surgery, poisoning, and psychological stress.
  • Anagen effluvium is the loss of the growth phase of hairs; usually brought about by cancer chemotherapy.

What are alopecia symptoms?

  • There are several symptoms denoting the presence of this problem. Early symptoms include unusual thinning and loss of hair while brushing and washing. Appearance of bald patches, thinning of eyebrows, thinning of eyelashes, presence of dandruff, skin lesions and skin scarring are some of the signs and symptoms.

    What are the causes of alopecia?

    Causes of hairlessness are not completely understood and can be caused by several factors.
    Anorexia nervosa,
    autoimmune disorder,
    burns,
    fungal infection,
    chemotherapy,
    chronic debilitating illness,
    extreme physical stress,
    genetic predisposition,
    heavy metal poisoning,
    hormonal effects,
    thyroid diseases,
    nutritional deficiencies,
    parturition,
    psychological disorder,
    psychological stress,
    radiotherapy,
    sudden blood loss,
    seborrheic dermatitis and
    traumatic damage are some of the known triggering factors.

    Alopecia treatment and management

  • There is limited success in the treatment of hairlessness. Medications like finasteride, dutasteride and minoxidil have been found to effective in preventing further loss of hair and with limited success in stimulating regrowth. Periodical corticosteroid injections are also given in the scalp to prevent the progression of the condition.

    Minoxidil, a nonprescription topical medication, is found to effective in treating male and female pattern baldness. Finasteride is an oral medication to be taken daily to get results. With the discontinuance of medication the loss may resume. There are many side effects. Expensive procedures like follicle transplants and hair transplants can be done with great success.

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    Imagesource: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Alopecia.jpg
    Author: Welshsk | License: CC BY 3.0
    Current topic in natural skin care: What is alopecia hair loss and its definition.