Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Alopecia

What is alopecia?

Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. There many  types of alopecia; the common ones been androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata.

What causes alopecia areata?

The exact cause of alopecia is unknown. However, genetics are believed to play an important role in hair loss. In addition to genetics, other factors which can trigger hair loss include irritants, exposure to allergens, infections, injuries, toxins and burns. Certain medications as well as chronic disease conditions like kidney failure, and treatment methods such as chemotherapy and radiation can induce hair loss.

What are different types of alopecia?

Some of the common types of alopecia are as follows:

  • Alopecia areata
  • Anagen effluvium
  • Telogen effluvium
  • Scarring alopecia
  • Male and female pattern baldness

How does alopecia spread?

Alopecia is not a contagious disease and does not spread from one person to another.

What are the symptoms of alopecia?

The common signs and symptoms of alopecia include:

  • Sudden thinning of hair throughout the scalp region: This however does not lead to bald patches, but causes overall thinning.
  • Circular or coin – sized baldness: In many cases, individuals lose hair in a circular pattern. There is itching in the affected area, followed by hair loss.
  • Hair loss from top of head: This is one of the most common symptoms. Both men and women experience it in equal measure.
  • Hair loss from all over the body: Due to certain treatment methods such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, there is loss of hair from all over the body.

What is the treatment of alopecia?

There is no cure for alopecia. However, there are certain treatments that may be of some help. The treatment methods are divided based on the amount of hair loss one has experienced. This means there are different methods for individuals with more than 50% hair loss and different methods for those with less than 50% hair loss.
Treatment methods for those with less than 50% hair loss include corticosteroids, finasteride, anthralin, tretinoin, topical minoxidil and zinc. In mild cases, local application with corticosteroid creams and ointments can be of great help. If these do not work, then other methods are employed.
For individuals who have experienced more than 50% hair loss, the treatment methods include immunosuppressive drugs, systemic corticosteroids, PUVA and UVB. PUVA and UVB methods consist of exposing the affected area to ultraviolet rays. Immunosuppressive drugs are given to suppress the activity of the immune system so that the hair can regrow. However, this method should not be used for long, as the body gets susceptible to infections.

How can alopecia be prevented?

There is no way to prevent alopecia. However, avoiding stress can in some way help in preventing hair loss due to emotional stress.

Diet and lifestyle changes in alopecia?

Various foods should be avoided if individuals are suffering from alopecia areata. These include sweets, dairy products, animal fat, meat, refined and processed foods and acidic foods. Foods that can be included are whole grains, nuts, pulses, fresh fruits and vegetables, walnuts, carrots, romaine lettuce, sardines, salmon and tuna fish.

What is Ayurvedic treatment of alopecia?

Ayurvedic treatment for alopecia consists of Pitha pacification diet as well as pitha medications. Some of the Ayurvedic preparations for hair loss include bhringraj oil, amla, cuscuta reflexa, citrullus colocynthis, tectona grandis and shikakai. 

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