Alopecia areata is an unpredictable autoimmune skin disease that may result in loss of hair on the scalp. This disease affects about 1.7 percent of all people, including more than 4 million people in the US. Alopecia areata most often develops during childhood, it occurs in all genders, ages, and races. Alopecia areata develops when hair follicles mistakenly attacked by a the immune system. Lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell in the immune system, around the hair follicles release chemical messengers called cytokines. Cytokines then reject the hair. Alopecia areata typically starts with one or more small bald patches on the scalp, this can progress into total scalp hair loss or complete body hair loss. There are three stages of the disease: 1) unexpected loss of hair; 2) enlargement of the patches of hair loss; 3) new hair grows back. This process can take months or years.
Symptoms of Alopecia Areata
Besides hair loss there are usually no symptoms of Alopecia areata. The hair simply stops growing and then falls out.
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