What is Alopecia?

Alopecia: a common, harmless but difficult affliction.

Alopecia is a hair loss disease that affects men, women and children. The onset is often random and frequently recurrent. Although the disease does not damage a person’s physical health, it can have a severe effect on quality of life and emotional health through its impact on confidence and self-esteem.

Alopecia affects around 1.7 % of the population, with men and women equally affected. About 25% of people affected have a family history of the condition. The exact cause of alopecia is not known, although experts generally agree it is a disease of the immune system. There is believed to be a genetic component and in some cases it is linked to stress.

In alopecia, the immune system attacks the affected hair follicle by mistake. That halts hair growth and causes hair to abruptly shed.

There are several different types of alopecia, ranging in severity. Alopecia Universalis is the total loss of hair across the body, while Alopecia Totalis is loss of hair on the head alone. Pulling Alopecia is more common in females from hair extensions, braiding and different hairdos, or from pulling hair when stressed.

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