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 Alopecia

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مُساهمةموضوع: Alopecia    الجمعة أكتوبر 19, 2012 4:29 pm

Alopecia
Date of last update: 08 June 2012
Alopecia is the medical term that is used to define the loss of hair and sometimes baldness. It may be a side effect caused by taking of the drugs used in chemotherapy for the treatment against tumors. In these cases, hair loss is generally temporary. The disease affects both men and women, both can be treated in several ways: with the use of medications to surgery in cases not otherwise treatable.
What is hair loss?
Alopecia is the medical term that is used to define the hair loss (also known as baldness). It can be a side effect to medications that are used in chemotherapy to cure cancer. In these cases, hair loss is generally temporary. However, any type of hair loss can cause psychological problems.
What are the types of hair loss?
Male Baldness
Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss. Besides affecting men, it can sometimes affect women (female pattern baldness). It can be particularly difficult to deal with for both men and women. The male and female pattern baldness usually starts by receding hairline before moving on to the bald head and temples. The male and female pattern baldness is called androgenetic alopecia. 'Androgen' means that it is linked to male hormones. This type of hair loss is connected to the hormone driidotestosterone (DHT), which consists of the male hormone called testosterone.
Alopecia areata
Alopecia areata is another type of hair loss, which includes patches of baldness that may come and go. It can occur at any age but mostly affects adolescents and young adults. Six out of ten people that are affected are the first signs already before the twenty years of age. Alopecia areata is thought to be caused by a problem in the immune system (the body's natural defense against infection and disease). There is no cure, that has been proven effective. In many cases the hair grows back after about a year. Some people with alopecia areata continue to develop more serious forms of hair loss as:
Total alopecia: hair loss all over the head
Universal alopecia: loss of hair all over the body
Cicatricial alopecia
The cicatricial alopecia is a hair loss that occurs as a result of complications of another disease. In this type of alopecia, the hair follicle (the small hole in the skin where a single hair grows and comes out) is completely destroyed. This means that the hair does not grow back. The diseases that cause cicatricial alopecia include:
Scleroderma: a disease that affects the connective tissues of the body, which manifests itself with a thick skin, swelling or itching
Lichen planus: a non-infectious itchy vent and can affect many areas of the body
Herpes zoster: infection of the nerves and the skin area around them, caused by the chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster virus), which is also responsible for chickenpox
More rare diseases that can cause scarring alopecia include:
Decalcante folliculitis: a rare form of alopecia that affects men more; cause hair loss and scarring of the affected area
Front fibrotic alopecia: a type of alopecia that affects women after menopause, it damages the hair follicles causing hair loss and regrowth makes it impossible
Telogen effluvium
The telogen effluvium is a common type of alopecia where there is a diffuse hair loss, rather than specific bald patches. The hair usually falls out in reaction to stress or drugs. This hair loss tends to improve without treatment after a few months.
What are the symptoms of hair loss?
Male Baldness
Male pattern baldness is hereditary in nature. Generally it begins around the end of the twenties or early thirties. At the end of their thirties, the majority of men have a little of hair loss. Male pattern baldness is so called because it generally follows a fixed pattern. The first stage is the receding hairline, followed by hair loss on the head and temples. You draw a shape of a horseshoe hair on the hair around the back and sides of the head. Sometimes it can progress to complete baldness, but it is rarer. The women's hair thins out gradually with age, but women usually lose their hair only on the top of the head. This is most visible in the menopause (when menstruation ends around 52 years of age).
Alopecia areata
Alopecia areata causes patches of baldness that are as big as a large coin that usually appear on the head, but can occur anywhere on the body. Other areas that may be affected are:
Beard
Eyebrows
Eyelashes
If patches of baldness are mainly around the hairline it is caleed ofiasi (a particular type of alopecia areata). The skin affected by baldness shows a normal appearance. There are usually other symptoms, although one in ten people also affected by the disease the nails may look pitted. In some cases of alopecia areata a person's hair can grow back but before reacquiring its original color, it may seem thin and white.
Cicatricial alopecia
When cicatricial alopecia is caused by another disease, you have the symptoms for this disease next to hair loss. Unlike other forms of hair loss, hairless skin is subject to the development of other disorders. For example, lichen planus is a non-infectious rash that may lead to the cicatricial alopecia and can cause:
Itchy rash relief with purple growths
Inflammation (redness and swelling) of the skin of the scalp
Pain or burning sensation
Discoid lupus is another possible cause of scarring alopecia. It can cause red skin marks, circular and scaly, and may cause itching and pain.
Telogen effluvium
In telogen effluvium, there is a diffuse hair loss throughout the scalp, instead of specific patches of baldness. The hair may look weaker than before, but you tend not to lose it all together. The body hair is not usually affected. In most cases of telogen effluvium, the hair stops falling out and begins to grow back in six months.
Who is affected by hair loss?
Male pattern baldness is more common than women and affects almost half of all men. The female pattern baldness is more common in women after age 40, especially after menopause (when menstruation ends around 52 years of age). Alopecia areata affects one or two people out of 100 in their lifetime. More than one in 5 people with alopecia areata have a family member affected by the disease. This suggests that the family baldness exists in some cases.
What are the causes of hair loss?
On average there are 100,000 hairs on the human head. Hair grows in follicles, which are small holes on the skin that contain the root of each hair. Each hair grows for about three years before they fall out and grow new hair. Every day from 50 to 100 hairs fall out.
Baldness male and female
The male and female pattern baldness is caused by hypersensitivity follicular driidotestosterone linked to the hormone (DHT), which consists of the male hormone testosterone. If there is too much DHT, the follicles react. The hair is thinner and grows less than normal. The process leading to baldness is gradual because different follicles are infected at different times.
Alopecia areata
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. The immune system is the body's natural defense, which helps protect it from bacterial and viral infections. Generally, the immune system attacks the causes of infection, but in cases of alopecia areata, however, damages the hair follicles, which are not permanently damaged and, in many cases, hair grows back in a few months. It is thought that some people may be genetically predisposed to alopecia areata. Some genes (units of genetic material) can make the disease more likely. One in 5 people has a family member affected by the alopecia areata.Alopecia areata exists in one out of five cases, suggesting that the tendency to develop the disease may be hereditary.
What are the other causes of hair loss?
Some diseases and some treatments can cause hair loss, such as:
Anemia: deficiency of red blood cells
Stress including bereavement
Fungal infections
Chemotherapy medicines used to treat cancer
Women who are pregnant or have just given birth, may lose their hair. Alopecia areata is most common among people with autoimmune diseases, such as:
Thyroid disease: the disease affecting the thyroid such as hyperthyroidism
Diabetes: a disease caused by having too much glucose (sugar) levels
Vitiligo, a disease that is manifested by the formation of white patches on the skin
Alopecia areata is also more common in people with Down syndrome, an inherited disorder that causes learning disabilities, affecting the physical development. More than one in 20 people with Down syndrome has alopecia areata.
How to cure hair loss?
If the hair loss is caused by an infection or disease, such as anemia, treating can help prevent further hair loss. In some cases the hair grows back. Although there are specific treatments for hair loss, in many cases they can not solve the problem. The telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss, caused by medications or stress and usually improves without treatment in about six months. If you are suffering from cicatricial alopecia, a type of hair loss caused by another disease, one must first cure the root cause. The hair loss from cicatricial alopecia is generally permanent.
Male Baldness
Two drugs are known to be effective in the treatment of male pattern baldness and they are:
Finasteride: it prevents the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes shrinkage of hair follicles, so blocking its production allows the hair follicles to regain their normal size
Minoxidil: it is in the form of lotion and rubs on the scalp every day. Buy it at pharmacies without a prescription. It is not clear how the minoxidil works, but evidence suggests that it is able to regrow hair in some men.
Female Hair Loss
Minoxidil is currently the only drug available to treat female pattern baldness. The lotion minoxidil promotes hair growth in 1 out of 4 women who use it and can slow or stop hair loss in other women. In general, women respond better than men to minoxidil, the Queli to see results, they must use the lotion for at least four months. Other treatments for hair loss include wigs and surgery.
Alopecia areata
There is no completely effective treatment for alopecia areata. However, in many cases, the hair grows back after about a year without any treatment. So watchful waiting is sometimes the best thing to do, especially if you have only a few patches of baldness. When treatment is necessary, these have varying results.
Injections of corticosteroids
Corticosteroids are drugs that contain steroids, which are a type of hormone. They act by retaining the immune system (the body's natural defense against infections and diseases). This is useful with alopecia areata because the disease is thought to be caused by damage of the follicles created by the immune system.
Topical Corticosteroids
Topical corticosteroids (creams and ointments) are widely prescribed to treat alopecia areata, but their long-term benefits are unknown. There are different opinions on the effectiveness of topical corticosteroids.
Minoxidil lotion
The minoxidil lotion is applied to the scalp and can stimulate hair growth in about 12 weeks. However, the drug may take more than a year to show its full effect. Minoxidil is credited for the treatment of hair loss for both women and men, but it is not used specifically for alopecia areata. This means that it is not certified by a medical test for this purpose.
Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy appears to be the most effective treatment for hair loss, both extended or total. But less than half of those who were treated see satisfactory results. Immunotherapy is possible only in specialized centers.
Dithranol cream
Similarly, immunotherapy, dithranol cream is applied on the scalp regularly before being removed. It causes a skin reaction, followed by a regrowth of the hair in some cases.
Ultraviolet Treatment
Two or three sessions of light therapy (phototherapy) take place weekly in the hospital. The skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UVA or UVB). In some cases, the skin is exposed to UV light after administering a drug called psoralen, which makes the skin more sensitive to light. Light therapy may take a year to produce the best result. The results vary and there is a high relapse rate. It is often not recommended because it can give side effects.
Tattoos
Eyebrows can be tattooed in a few sessions. This technique is known as dermografia and generally produces good results.
Wigs
The wigs can be a good solution for people with extended hair loss.
Complementary Therapies
Aromatherapy, acupuncture and massage are often used for alopecia, but there is not enough evidence to support their use as an effective treatment.
Surgery for Hair Loss
Surgery is only possible for a number of diseases caused by alopecia. Surgery should be considered only after trying all the less invasive treatments.
Hair Transplant
Under local anesthesia, a small piece of scalp is removed from the area where there is hair, hair is divided into individual or small groups of hair and then proceed with the replanting in areas affected by baldness. In six months, the hair should grow back.
Reduction of the scalp
The scalp reduction involves removing parts of bald scalp from the top of the head but there is a high risk of infection.
Artificial Hair
The transplantation of artificial hair is known as a treatment for male pattern baldness. Involves the transplantation of synthetic fibers in the scalp under local anesthesia but involves serious risks of infection and scarring.
Cloning
Recent studies on the treatment for hair loss concern about cloning of hair cells. The technique involves withdrawing a small amount of hair cells, multiplying them and after injecting in the areas, affected by baldness. Being totally new, studies of this technique are still being tested.



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