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Transcript of Alopecia Areata
Hmmm... What is
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system has a deficiency and mistakenly attacks itself due to lack of cell recognition.
Image from: http://www.visualphotos.com/image/2x4133201/doctor_with_thought_bubble
"Alopecia Areata." Black's Medical Dictionary, 42nd Edition. London: A&C Black, 2010. Credo Reference. Web. 02 December 2013.
Although there is no definite cure or fully effective treatment, hair follicles are not permanently damaged and can resume hair production once given the correct signal, even without treatment.
Corticosteroids is a medicine that restrains the immune system and allows for faster hair growth. It can be applied through injection
on the bare spots
as shown in the
picture, or applied
as a form of ointment.
One of the most common treatments is Minoxidi. Minoxidil helps with re-growth and can be appropriately used on both adults and children, It can slow down or
stop hair loss, but not
effectively help hair
No treatment is consistent nor 100% effective.
One of the most common and obvious signs of Alopecia is hair loss, whether is patchy on the scalp or widespread throughout the body. Nail changes can be the first sign of Alopecia. The finger and toenails may have dents, white spots or lines, lose their shine, and become thin and split. There is no physical nor internal pain throughout this disease. Alopecia can affect any age group, but often starts during childhood.
Living with hair loss may be difficult, but there are many tactics to help cope with it:
Learn more about the disease to become more aware of what is happening to your body.
Talk to someone, possibly someone who has the disease themself, and observe how they deal with it.
Gain self-confidence and obtain self-image. (Talk to a counselor if needed.)
Just know, hair does not determine how pretty or handsome you are. Always love yourself for who you are disregarding your appearance. Hair does NOT define beauty.
Why does the immune system attack itself?
The immune system is required to protect the body when an invader, such as a bacteria or virus, intrudes. Sometimes the immune system can receive an incorrect signal and mistaken your healthy cells as invaders, and continuously attack them using antibodies. In alopecia areata, the immune system, specifically, the low titer IgM anti-hair follicle antibodies, are attacking the hair follicles, resulting in a lack of hair growth.
If you have Alopecia Areata, and would like your hair to grow back, visit your local dermatologist to seek for assistance.
By the way,
Background image from:
By Nanya Okeke
"'Hair today, gone tomorrow.'
The fragile, marshmallow-white girl stood up in front of the class. "I woke up one day to the surprise of drool on my cheek and a bald patch on my head," she said.
Although only 11, she gave her presentation using terms that only adults or medical students would understand. "My project is about the autoimmune disorder I have: alopecia areata."
Her classmates needed no explanation since it was obvious that the girl had lost her eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair. She frequently had to leave school for doctor appointments. Teasing was never an issue for her because people saw that she had not let her condition affect her life; confidence was her key. Her peers frequently asked her why she chose not to wear a wig, and she would merely reply, "My hair may be short enough to cause worry, but life is too short to allow it."
That girl is me. And today she is winning beauty pageants."
Just know, you are NOT in this alone. Below is an inspirational written interview of Kayla, a teenager with Alopecia.
Kayla won Miss Delaware in 2010 and was ranked top 10 in 2011 in the Miss America pageant.