Hair loss is a natural part of the aging process, but if your hair loss occurs in patches or chunks around your head it could be indicative of a medical condition known as alopecia areata. Dr. Vivian Bucay specializes in helping individuals understand and find a successful treatment for alopecia areata.
What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata is a medical condition that results in the loss of hair. It is classified as an autoimmune disorder because the body is attacking the hair follicles. When the body attacks the hair follicles, it causes the hair to fall out.
The amount of hair loss an individual experiences with alopecia areata will vary. Some individuals lose chunks or patches on their head, while others can lose all the hair on their head. In some cases the hair grows back, but not always.
What is the Difference Between Baldness and Alopecia Areata?
Baldness is a general term used to describe all hair loss. There are several different types of baldness. Alopecia areata is a specific type of baldness.
When a patient comes to us with what we suspect to be alopecia areata, we will conduct a visual examination of the scalp. We will take a close look at the area where the hair loss has occurred. We will also look at any of the hair surrounding it. This visual examination combined with the patient’s medical or family history is usually enough to diagnosis alopecia areata.
Who is at Risk for Alopecia Areata?
There is no way to determine exactly who is at risk for developing alopecia areata. Some people, such as those with an existing autoimmune disorder or a family history of autoimmune disorders may be at a higher risk for developing this condition. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell for sure who will or will not develop it.
What Treatment is Available for Alopecia Areata?
Currently, there is no cure for alopecia areata. There are options for treatment and management of the condition.
Some of the available treatment options may include injections of corticosteroids into the scalp, topical creams/gels, oral corticosteroids, topical contact sensitizers, or prescription drugs such as Rogaine. These treatments are designed to help reduce inflammation and help the hair possibly grow back.
The treatment/management plan for every individual will vary, as not all treatments work for everyone. Dr. Vivian Bucay and her staff can provide recommendations that allow you to create a unique personalized treatment/management plan for your alopecia areata.