SKIN DISEASES: baldness (alopecia)
Location: scalp is the most frequently affected area, some forms of alopecia may involve other parts of the body
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Symptoms: baldness (alopecia) is a condition when thinning or loss of the hair occurs due to illness, functional disorder, or hereditary disposition. Treatment of the disease/dysfunction causing baldness usually detain the loss of hair, and in cases when hair follicles are not seriously damaged, hair may regrow spontaneously.
Baldness may also be caused by:
– glandular disorders,
– diseases accompanied by high fever,
– chemotherapy treatment for cancer sufferers,
– scalp infection,
– untidiness/greasiness of the scalp and hair,
– teasing or pulling the hair associated with certain hairstyles,
– excessive usage of hair sprays.
There are several forms of alopecia:
– alopecia androgenetica (male and female pattern alopecia):
female pattern alopecia - is a disorder, caused by hormones, aging, and genetic predisposition, involving a typical pattern of loss of hair in women. It is characterized by thinning of the hair all over the head, moderate loss of hair on the crown, while maintaining the frontal hairline. It rarely progresses to total or near baldness as it may in men.
male pattern alopecia - is the most common type of hair loss in men, caused by hormones and genetic predisposition, characterized by receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown.
– alopecia areata - is a form of alopecia, which tends to be rather rapid and gives rise to the loss of some of the hair from the head, affecting one side of the head more than the other. Alopecia areata is supposed to be caused by an abnormality in the immune system, and is sometimes associated with other autoimmune conditions such as allergic disorders, thyroid disease, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis.
Alopecia areata may also occur within family members that allow to assume a role of genes and heredity.
This form of alopecia affects both males and females. This type of hair loss is different than male pattern baldness, an inherited condition,
– traction alopecia - is a form of alopecia, caused primarily by pulling force being applied to the hair, it is associated with certain hairstyles (particularly tight ponytail, pigtails, braids) or a habit of twisting the hair. Wigs and chignons worn to conceal hair loss, as well as the tight braiding, cause tension on the hair that is already at risk for falling out.
– alopecia totalis - involves the loss of all head hair occurring either all at one time or within a short period of time. It is an autoimmune disorder with unclear causes, supposed to be the result of stress.
– alopecia universalis - involves the loss of all hair from the head and the body.
– alopecia mucinosa (follicular mucinosis) - is a form of alopecia, that represents various stages of follicular damage leading to hair loss. Mucinous material accumulated in the damaged hair follicles and sebaceous glands produces an inflammation and subsequent degenerative process. There are three basic types of alopecia mucinosa:
• a primary acute disorder occurring in young persons (children and adolescents) - Pinkus type,
• a primary chronic disorder occurring in persons older than 40 years
• a secondary disorder associated with benign or malignant skin disease.
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