What is alopecia areata?
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks its own hair follicles and result into hair loss. Mostly hair loss happens in small patches, however sometimes the patches join together to form a noticeable big patch of hair loss. Sometimes the loss in small patches could also be very severe, with several patches on the skin.
Most of the times hair loss happens on scalp, though it can affect eyebrows, eyelashes, face and other parts of the body also. Sometimes there happens complete loss of hair on the scalp, known as alopecia totalis. In extreme cases, there can happen total hair loss from the whole body, which is known as alopecia universalis.
Alopecia areata may be sudden or a very slow process and recur after years between instances. This condition can happen to anyone of all ages, but it mostly affects people who are below 30 years. The hair can grow back over the years but can again fall out. The capacity of hair for regrowing or falling out varies greatly from person to person.
Homeopathy can play a very very significant and effective role in treating alopecia areata. The individualistic approach taken by the best homeopathic doctor for skin can treat the root cause of the disease and give permanent solution for this problem.
Hair follicles are the structures present beneath the scalp, from which the hair grows. Immune system, which normally protects the body from foreign invasion like bacterias and viruses sometimes starts behaving weird and start attaching its own healthy cells, resulting into autoimmune disorders. In alopecia areata, immune system attacks the healthy hair follicles of the body, because of which the follicles become smaller and stop producing hair, resulting into hair loss.
Though, exact reason of alopecia is still unknown, but it has been seen occurring to people who have family history of autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes type I and rheumatoid arthritis. Thus, researchers have concluded that genetic predisposition has a role to play in causing alopecia areata. Moreover, it is also believed that there are certain environmental factors required to trigger alopecia areata in people who are already genetically predisposed to such conditions.
Sign and symptoms
Most prominent sign of alopecia areata is loss of hair in patches. It is most common on scalp, but can affect any part of the body. The hair loss can be sudden or may be a slow process happening over the years. Before the hair loss, person may feel burning and itching on that particular area.
The hair follicles are not completely destroyed in alopecia areata, so there may be regrowth of the hair on the patches, once the inflammation subsides. Sometimes people may have full regrowth of hair, without taking any particular treatment.
Alopecia areata can also affect finger and toenails. The changes on the nails might be the first presenting sign of the disease sometimes. The signs include-
- Pinpoint dents on the nails
- Appearance of white spots and lines on the nail
- Nails become rough
- Nails losing their lustre
- Thinning and splitting of nails
Some other clinical signs may include
- Exclamation mark hairs- This happens when the hair around the patch become narrower at their bottom.
- Cadaver hairs- These are hairs that break in between and fail to reach the surface of the skin.
- White hair- White hair may grow in areas that have been affected by hair loss.
Doctor may diagnose the condition by just looking on the skin, from where the hair loss has happened.
Doctor may sometimes perform scalp biopsy to rule out other medical conditions that may cause hair loss, like some fungal infections, including tinea capitis.
Doctor may also advice for some blood tests if he suspects for some autoimmune diseases.
Homeopathic approach in alopecia areata is same as for any autoimmune disease. The best homeopathic doctor for skin will give the individualised medicine chosen on the basis of holistic approach to cure the disease from its roots.
The homeopathic medicine is chosen on the basis of symptom similarity, which includes all the symptoms with the presenting physical complaints along with mental and emotional symptoms.