Does alopecia affect your physical health?

Author: Christine Gerhold  |  Last update: Friday, June 23, 2023

Though the symptoms of alopecia areata typically do not cause physical pain, many people with the condition say that it causes emotional, or psychological, pain. This type of pain is as serious (and can feel the same) as physical pain and can lead to feelings of sadness, depression and anxiety.

Can alopecia areata cause other health problems?

People with alopecia areata have an increased risk of developing other autoimmune disorders, including vitiligo, systemic lupus erythematosus, atopic dermatitis, allergic asthma, and autoimmune thyroid diseases (such as Hashimoto thyroiditis and Graves disease).

How does alopecia affect a patient's lifestyle?

Up to 70% of people with alopecia areata may have depression or anxiety, and for some this can lead to thoughts of suicide or other forms of self-harm. Other common feelings people may experience include: Feeling ashamed or humiliated. Lower self-esteem.

What body system does alopecia affect?

Alopecia is the clinical term for hair loss. Alopecia areata (AA) refers to a condition in which hair loss fueled by your immune system's attack on your hair follicles. As one of many types of autoimmune diseases, AA can be lifelong, with symptoms occurring in cycles of hair loss and regrowth.

Is alopecia a physical disability?

Alopecia areata does not cause physical disability, but it may affect your sense of well-being. There are many things you can do to cope with the effects of this disease, including: Get support. Learn as much as you can about the disease, and talk with others who are dealing with it.

How Alopecia Affects Your Body

Does alopecia affect the brain?

Androgenic alopecia (AGA) is associated with significant cardiovascular risk factors that also have a negative impact on brain aging.

Does alopecia affect mental health?

Alopecia can have serious psychosocial consequences, causing intense emotional suffering, and personal, social and work-related problems. Surveys have shown that around 40 per cent of women with alopecia have had marital problems, and around 63 per cent claimed to have career-related problems (Hunt & McHale, 2004).

Does alopecia make you feel ill?

If you have alopecia areata, it generally doesn't cause pain or other symptoms. However, some people say that right before they lose their hair, they feel tingling, itching, or burning on the skin where the hair will fall out.

Does alopecia affect your immune system?

The disease is associated with increased risk of other autoimmune disorders (Table 2). Approximately, 12-16% of individuals with alopecia areata develop an autoimmune disease [29, 30].

Does alopecia cause fatigue?

Answer: Alopecia areata and fatigue and cold intolerance

Suppression of adrenal gland function can lead to both fatigue and cold intolerance for example.

Do people with alopecia get sick more often?

“Alopecia Areata itself does not compromise the immune system or cause immune deficiency and there is no reason to think that people with Alopecia Areata are more at risk from COVID-19 than the general population, either in terms of catching the virus or being more severely affected by it.

What causes alopecia to flare up?

Alopecia areata occurs when the body's immune system mistakes hair follicles as foreign and attacks them. This causes the hairs to fall out. This specific form of autoimmunity is a lifelong tendency that can be inherited from either parent.

What virus causes alopecia?

Alopecia areata is sometimes triggered by viral infections such as influenza that causes excess production of interferons (IFN). IFN- γ is one of the key factors that lead to the collapse of immune privilege.

What diseases cause alopecia?

Anyone can develop alopecia; however, your chances of having alopecia areata are slightly greater if you have a relative with the condition. In addition, alopecia areata occurs more often among people who have family members with autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, lupus or thyroid disease.

Does alopecia cause stress?

A variety of factors are thought to cause alopecia areata (al-o-PEE-she-uh ar-e-A-tuh), possibly including severe stress. With alopecia areata, the body's immune system attacks the hair follicles — causing hair loss.

Does alopecia affect your memory?

Alopecia areata (AA), an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss, including baldness, has been linked to a significantly increased risk for dementia, new research shows.

Is alopecia hard to live with?

Because hair loss and regrowth from alopecia areata is unpredictable and sometimes cyclical (comes back again and again), having the condition can be frustrating and emotionally challenging for many people.

Does alopecia worsen with age?

Alopecia areata can occur at any age but about half of cases come on in childhood and 80% of cases come on before the age of 40 years. Men and women are equally affected. The condition tends to be milder if it comes on at an older age.

What happens if alopecia goes untreated?

Often, hair grows back within several months, even without treatment. It may grow in fine or white at first, but usually returns to its original texture and color with time. People with alopecia areata may lose and grow back their hair more than once, either in the same patches as before or in different patches.

What vitamins help alopecia?

Alopecia areata (AA) occurs when the immune system attacks the hair follicle. Studies have shown a relationship between AA and low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D should be supplemented if levels are low.

What is the number one cause of alopecia?

This type of baldness is not usually caused by a disease. It is related to aging, heredity, and changes in the hormone testosterone. Inherited, or pattern baldness, affects many more men than women. Male pattern baldness can occur at any time after puberty.

How serious is alopecia?

Alopecia areata isn't usually a serious medical condition, but it can cause a lot of anxiety and sadness. Support groups are out there to help you deal with the psychological effects of the condition. If you lose all your hair, it could grow back.

How long does an alopecia episode last?

How Long does Hair Loss Last? In half of patients with alopecia areata, individual episodes of hair loss last less than one year, and hair grows back without treatment. These patients may experience recurrent episodes of hair loss that spontaneously regrow or respond quickly to treatments.

What autoimmune disease is linked to alopecia?

Alopecia areata frequently occurs in association with other autoimmune disorders such as vitiligo, lichen planus, morphea, lichen sclerosus et atrophicus, pemphigus foliaceus, atopic dermatitis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, hypothyroidism, endemic goiter, Addison's disease, pernicious anemia, lupus erythematosus, diabetes ...

Does sleep affect alopecia?

Sleep exerts a strong regulatory influence on immune functions. To date, the association between sleep and alopecia areata has rarely been reported. Here, we demonstrated that sleep disorders are independent risk factors for alopecia areata, especially in individuals under the age of 45 years old.

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