condition of alopecia is defined as being: "Baldness, partial or complete,
congenital or acquired".
word alopecia is latin meaning baldness in any form. Pattern baldness affects
both men and women. The word alopecia is most commonly associated with the disorders
known as alopecia areata, totalis and universalis.
affects the hair follicle and causes partial or total hairloss. While this condition
is not life threatening, hairloss can be responsible for various types of emotional
and psychological trauma. Alopecia sufferers come from all walks of life. It can
strike either sex, any ethnic or age group.
are three kinds of alopecia. The first is Alopecia areata which manifests itself
as partial hairloss. Someone with this condition will find his or her hair falling
out in small, isolated clumps. The rest of the head may be covered with perfectly
healthy hair. Alopecia totalis involves the loss of most or all of the hair on
the head. Most men who complain of what is sometimes referred to as androgenic
or male pattern baldness have this condition. "Androgenic" describes
the various male hormones that control the appearance and development of masculine
characteristics, like facial hair. Alopecia Universalis involves the loss of all
body hair. This type of drastic hairloss involves the lack of eyebrows, eye lashes,
facial and body hair as well as complete hairloss on the top of the head.
who suffer from any of these types of hairloss can attest to the pain and anxiety
associated with their condition. However, a young alopecia patient, a grade school
student for example, can sustain far more hardship and emotional scarring than
any adult. While it is culturally "acceptable" for mature men and even
women to experience hairloss, the pecking order of a child's peer group can
devastating ridicule on any of its group that somehow seems different.
nothing could be more different, and therefore unacceptable to the group than
a child who has lost his or her hair.
is responsible for depression, low self-esteem, and a general sense of inadequacy.
Alopecia therefore is a debilitating condition, in spite of the fact that there
are no adverse physical effects above and beyond the condition of sudden, rapid
present, there is no known cure for Alopecia. Researchers theorize that it is
an autoimmune disorder. If this were true, the patient's body would be producing
antibodies which attack the follicle, therefore causing the rapid hairloss. Accordingly,
effective treatment for the disease is limited to purely cosmetic alternatives.
estimated 2.5 million Americans suffer from alopecia areata and it is estimated
that 1% of the U.S. population will be stricken with it by the age of 50.
for a cure is carried on by a variety of privately and publicly funded groups.
Among them are the National Alopecia Areata Foundation and the National Institute
of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a division of the Nation Institute
more information, contact the National Alopecia Areata Foundation at PO Box 150760,
San Rafael, CA 94915, or phone them at 415-456-4644. The NAAF's fax number is
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