Hair loss can make anyone feel insecure since it is one of those very visible features that are difficult to hide. It has long been associated with the effects of cancer treatments, so alopecia areata sufferers deal with looking “sick.” Alopecia is generally not a severe condition, but the emotional impacts of the unpredictable physical changes can be devastating. Read on to find out what it’s like to have alopecia areata.
What To Expect from Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune skin disease where the body recognizes the hair follicles as a threat and attacks them. It can happen at any age, and no race or gender is more prevalent. Symptoms are patchy hair loss on the scalp, face, and other areas of the body. Changes to the nails may also be present as tiny rows of dents on them. The hair follicles remain alive despite this, and hair can regrow at any time. The loss and regrowth are unpredictable.
If you are experiencing hair loss, a dermatologist is the best option, since they specialize in different skin conditions. Your provider will examine the areas affected, including nails, and may even examine some hairs under a microscope to make an accurate diagnosis. Blood tests can also be done to rule out any other conditions that cause hair loss.
Living with AA
Where your hair loss is occurring, your age and the severity will help your doctor determine the best treatment path for you. No one treatment works for everyone, and it may take a few tries to get the right individual or combination therapy for you. Hair can grow back without any treatment, but you always have the option of trying to help it along.
Oral, topical, and injected therapies developed for hair loss have shown positive results. Unfortunately, nothing can stop the hair from falling out again, however. Many amazing products can be used long term or temporarily, like hairpieces and scarves.
Alopecia areata can cause embarrassment, grief, anger, anxiety, and depression in those affected. Seeking help for the emotional ups and downs should also be addressed in every treatment plan. Support groups, and talking with other individuals with AA creates a sense of community and the opportunity to learn from others with this condition.
Hope for Improved Treatments
There is no cure for alopecia areata, but there is hope through the efforts of clinical research. Studies have already identified the use of JAK inhibitors as a possible option for AA. JAK inhibitors are already FDA approved to treat other medical conditions but need to be investigated further for alopecia.
There are many other examples of possible new options that could potentially change the management of alopecia. To learn more about the upcoming studies at ForCare for those with alopecia areata, call (813) 264-2155 or click here.