Even among people with full heads of hair and no need for hair loss treatments, there is a lot of confusion and fear about hair loss. Many people are worried about losing their hair when they are older even if they have no signs of hair loss currently. As well, some younger people notice that their hair is thinning or receding, which can confuse them since they believe hair loss is something that happens to older people.
Can hair loss occur at any age? The answer to that question is: Yes, but a lot depends on the type of hair loss. There are many different varieties of hair loss, some that are temporary and some that are permanent. While some types usually occur in older people, there are others that are more common in younger people.
What is Alopecia?
Alopecia is a general term that refers to hair loss. There are many different types of alopecia. Often, when someone uses the word “alopecia,” they are referring to alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss.
In fact, alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that is very common in young people. Most people with this disease suffer hair loss before the age of 21. The condition affects men and women equally. With alopecia areata, people begin losing patches of their hair. Sometimes this hair loss is temporary, and these patches grow back after a few months. However, other times the condition can progress, sometimes to complete, permanent baldness. Usually, people with alopecia areata will have bald patches across their scalp.
How Do You Get Alopecia?
Alopecia areata is considered an autoimmune disease, which means that the body is attacking its own cells. The immune system ends up seeing hair follicles as foreign invaders and “attacks” them, which causes inflammation that leads to hair loss. Usually, the hair follicles are only weakened and can grow hair again if the inflammation goes away. However, if the condition isn’t treated properly, then it can lead to permanent hair loss. It is not known why people develop alopecia areata. It is thought that it can be triggered by viruses, infections, medication, drugs, and environmental factors. It can also run in the family, although some people still get the condition with no prior family history.
How Do You Know if You Have Alopecia?
If you have bald patches that are forming on your scalp, then you probably have alopecia areata. Only hair specialists can diagnosis the condition, but they usually do so simply by sight. Sometimes, blood tests may be taken to rule out other conditions. The only way to find out if you have alopecia areata is to see a doctor or hair specialist. Sometimes, you may have alopecia areata and another form of hair loss too.
Is Alopecia Treatable?
There are a number of different hair loss treatments that can be used to take care of alopecia. One of the most common alopecia treatments is anti-inflammatory medications, which can help stop the inflammation that is causing bald patches. These medications can be taken orally or applied topically. However, there are other topical hair treatments that can help with alopecia areata. For instance, topical sensitizers, minoxidil, and shampoos for sensitive scalps are all options that can see some benefits. If alopecia areata has caused permanent hair loss in one section of your scalp, then a transplant may even be an option assuming your condition is under control. The best way to find out what treatments work for your alopecia areata is to talk to a qualified hair specialist.
Do you have sudden hair loss or think you may be suffering from alopecia areata? The Canadian Institute of Hair and Scalp Specialists is an experienced hair loss clinic located in the heart of Mississauga. We have 20 years of experience in hair loss treatment procedures. Feel free to contact us for more information about hair transplants or any other hair or scalp concern at 905-272-0190.