Alopecia Areata is characterized by the sudden falling out of hair in round patches that create bald spots. It is highly unpredictable skin disease that may occur on the scalp and elsewhere in the body.
Due to certain similarities with other autoimmune disorders, it is suggested that Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease. The hair loss usually begins with one or more small, round, smooth bald patches on the scalp that can progress in to total loss of hair on scalp.
Differential diagnosis of Alopecia Areata
- Tinea capatis
- Traction alopecia
- Congenital alopecia
- Chemical induced alopecia
- Anagen effluvium
- Lupus erythematosus
- Lichen planopilaris
- Bullous pemphigoid
- Alopecia neoplastica
- Follicular mucinosis
- Granulomatous disorders
Etiology of Alopecia Areata
Genetic predisposition – family history increases likelihood
Association with autoimmune disease – (thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, vitiligo) suggests autoimmune origin; presence of lymphocytic infiltration in and around Anagen hair follicle is further evidence. Alopecia Areata differs from other autoimmune diseases in that it does not result in complete loss of function of the target organ, but in a temporary switching off of hair follicle activity, which can return to normal. This suggests that the target may be controlling growth factor or its receptor.
Microorganism, Neurogenic stimuli, emotional stress, and poor coping skills have been identified as potential causes or triggers.
Sign and symptoms of Alopecia Areata
Clinical presentation varies from recurrent, small round patch of hair loss to chronic, nonscarring total hair loss of scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, nostrils, beard, and body, spontaneous remissions may seen.
Alopecia Areata can be psychologically painful. The hair follicle changes from Anagen hair to dystrophic Anagen, catagen, or telogen hair due to an unknown trigger.
Nail pitting may occur. Increased incidences of association with other autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto thyroiditis and vitiligo have been reported.
Investigation in case of Alopecia Areata
Detailed history and physical examination are important tools for diagnostic purpose; organ specific antibodies may be demonstrated. Scalp biopsy may be useful to exclude other disorder.
Treatment of Alopecia Areata
A verity of treatment options is available for this condition,
If the patch of hair loss id small, it is better to wait and allow the hair to re grow on its own. Other treatment options mainly include: application of strong topical steroids, injection of a steroid, minoxidil has been used to promote hair growth and has shown positive results in few cases.
Another type of treatment is designed to produce a contact dermatitis, or irritation, at the site of hair loss, to stimulate the hair growth. Photo chemotherapy may also be useful in such cases.
Homeopathic treatment of Alopecia Areata
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat alopecia areata but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to treat alopecia areata that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following remedies which are helpful in the treatment of alopecia areata:
Ferrum phos – hair fall from head due to anemia
Acidum flour – alopecia of old people or a prematurely aged due to syphilis, falling of hair in patches, hair fall due to typhoid fever
Sepia – falling of hair in pregnancy, dandruff in circles like ringworm, moist scalp
Sulphur – hair fall in nursing women, when well selected medicines fail to relieve.
Selenium met – falling of hair of head, eyebrows, eyelashes and other part of the body
Natrum Mur – falling of hair after delivery, of a child its nursing, loss of hair after chronic headaches
Mancinella – loss of hair after a severe acute disease
Vinca minor – hair loss, sharp and well defined, circumscribed patches which leave the scalp smooth and white or gray hair may grow on the bald spots like white wool.
Acid phos – remarkable remedy for Alopecia Areata, hair fall after an exhausting disease, hair fall from head, eyebrows, and eyelashes
Sphingurus mar. – falling of hair from the beard
Lachesis – hair fall during pregnancy
Carbo veg – hair fall during pregnancy