Baldness, patchy
Patchy baldness. Also referred to as alopecia areata. Alopecia means baldness and areata means occurring in patches. This process typically begins with patchy hair loss on the scalp and sometimes progresses to complete baldness and even loss of body hair. The hair loss tends to be rather rapid and asymmetrical and is different than male pattern baldness. Alopecia areata affects both males and females. It tends to occur most often in children and young adults but older individuals can also be affected. The most common pattern of alopecia areata is one or more spots of hair loss on the scalp. There is also a form of more generalized thinning. When all of the scalp hair is lost, it is referred to as alopecia totalis. Loss of all of the hairs on the body is called alopecia universalis. The cause appears to involve an autoimmune mechanism. The body's own immune system attacks the hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation. Biopsies of affected skin show lymphocytes (one of the body’s immune system cells) inside of hair follicles where lymphocytes normally are not present. What causes this is unknown. Alopecia areata is sometimes associated with other conditions (allergic disorders, thyroid disease, vitiligo, lupus, {{}}rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis). Some cases occur within family members and indicate a genetic basis. The characteristic diagnostic finding of alopecia areata is the exclamation point hair. These can be found in areas of hair loss and are short broken off hairs that are narrower closer to the scalp and therefore mimic an exclamation point. In some cases a biopsy is necessary for diagnosis. In about half of those affected, the hair regrows within a year without any treatment. The longer the period of time of hair loss, the less chance that it will regrow and a variety of treatments can be tied. Steroid injections and cream to the scalp have been used for many years. Other drugs include minoxidil, irritants, and topical immunotherapy which may be used in different combinations. A study reported in the journal Archives of Dermatology (Vol 134, 1998;1349-52) showed effectiveness of aromatherapy essential oils (cedarwood, lavender, thyme, and rosemary oils) in some patients. As with many disorders for which there is no clear cut beneficial treatment, a variety of remedies are promoted which in fact have no benefit.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Baldness — Bald redirects here. For other uses, see Bald (disambiguation). Alopecia Classification and external resources Man displaying male pattern baldness ICD 10 L …   Wikipedia

  • Baldness — Medically known as alopecia. There are many types of baldness, each with a different cause. Baldness may be localized to the front and top of the head, as in the very common type of male pattern baldness; baldness may be patchy, a condition… …   Medical dictionary

  • Alopecia — Baldness. There are many types of alopecia, each with a different cause. Alopecia may be localized to the front and top of the head as in common male pattern baldness. It may be patchy as in a condition called alopecia areata. Or it can involve… …   Medical dictionary

  • alopecia — Baldness can take various forms; alopecia areata in which hair loss is patchy, alopecia universalis in which loss is complete …   Dictionary of molecular biology

  • Alopecia areata — is patchy baldness (alopecia means baldness and areata means occurring in patches) which typically begins with patchy hair loss on the scalp and sometimes progresses to complete baldness and even loss of body hair. The hair loss tends to be… …   Medical dictionary

  • Exclamation point hair — is a key diagnostic finding in a disorder called alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is patchy baldness (alopecia means baldness and areata means occurring in patches) which typically begins with patchy hair loss on the scalp and sometimes… …   Medical dictionary

  • Hair, exclamation point — Exclamation point hair is a key diagnostic finding in a disorder called alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is patchy baldness (alopecia means baldness and areata means occurring in patches) which typically begins with patchy hair loss on the scalp… …   Medical dictionary

  • Alopecia capitis totalis — Loss of all of the scalp hair. Alopecia means baldness and capitis refers to the head. Alopecia capitis totalis is thus total baldness of the scalp with normal hair elsewhere on the body. Aside from alopecia capitis totalis, other forms of… …   Medical dictionary

  • alopecia areata — noun patchy baldness • Hypernyms: ↑alopecia * * * ˌarēˈād.ə, ēˈä noun Etymology: New Latin, circumscribed baldness : sudden loss of hair in circumscribed patches accompanied by little or no inflammation * * * /ar ee ay teuh, ah teuh/, Pathol.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Biotin deficiency — Infobox Disease Name = PAGENAME Caption = Biotin DiseasesDB = ICD10 = ICD10|E|53|8|e|50 ICD9 = ICD9|266.2 ICDO = OMIM = MedlinePlus = eMedicineSubj = ped eMedicineTopic = 238 MeshID = Biotin deficiency is a rare nutritional disorder which can… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”