Alopecia Areata Clinical Research Study
Like it or not, our hair is a big part of our identity. That is why men fret when male pattern balding begins to rear its ugly head and why people spend so much time at salons and on hair products. It is an essential part of the way we look, and to lose hair can drastically change the way people look and feel. That is why alopecia areata is such a concern, even though it does little actually change people's physical health. Lucky for those suffering from alopecia areata, California Dermatology and Clinical Research Institute in Encinitas is offering a clinical research study that offers free treatment for alopecia areata.
What is Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata is a specific type of hair loss caused by an overactive immune system. This occurs when the bodies immune system attacks your hair follicles. The hair follicles are the root of all hair growth, so when the immune system mistakenly hinders the hair follicles, hair growth abruptly stops. This damage to the hair follicles caused by alopecia areata is in most cases not permanent, but can cause a large amount of temporary hair loss. Scientists struggle to pin down why it is the immune system attacks the hair follicles, but research such as that done by California Dermatology and Clinical Research Institute in Encinitas may one day be able to figure the disease out. Alopecia Areata begins most commonly during the teen years and younger, with most people initially afflicted under the age of 20, but people of any age are susceptible and the disease can wax and wane for many years after first appearing.
What are the Symptoms of Alopecia Areata?
Alopecia areata will first show itself when small bald areas start to appear. As the hair falls out the skin will be completely smooth and hairless, creating small spots of scalp showing around healthy hair. In a few cases the hair may only become thin and not actually fall out or continue to grow and eventually break off. When the hair breaks off it will leave tiny stubbles of hair on the head. In some extreme cases of alopecia areata, the person will lose all hair on the head and the body, but this is a relatively rare occurrence. The loss of hair is sporadic, occurring in one area of the head for a few months and then a different area after that, with the hair usually growing back in a few months. About 10% of the people afflicted may never grow back the hair they have lost. As of right now, there is not FDA-approved therapy for alopecia areata but we are trying to change that.
Are Those With Alopecia Areata at Risk of Never Growing Back Their Hair?
As stated above, only about 10% of people with alopecia areata never grow back their hair. So that raises the question, what makes people at risk to never grow their hair back after losing it because of alopecia areata? Here are a few precursors for people who may not be able to grow back their hair.
- Currently have an additional autoimmune disease
- Suffer from drastic hair loss
- First started losing hair before puberty
- Have been losing hair from alopecia areata for over 1 year.
- Have allergies
- Have a family history of alopecia areata
- Have abnormal fingernails or toenails, specifically in regards to the shape, color, thickness or texture of the nail
How is Alopecia Areata Diagnosed?
If you are experiencing symptoms of alopecia areata, go visit a doctor or medical professional immediately. The doctor will then look through your medical history and give you a physical examination, and ask you a series of questions about your hair. They may even grab hair and tug gently on it to see how easily it will come out. If the doctor does not have a firm grasp at this point if you have alopecia areata, they will run a few tests, such as a hair analysis or blood test, to determine the reason you are losing hair.
How is Alopecia Areata Treated?
Since alopecia areata is usually temporary and all of the symptoms are aesthetic, with little to no physical pain, many decide to leave alopecia areata untreated. If you do seek treatment to replace the hair that is lost from alopecia areata, there are a few different treatments available.
A common treatment for hair loss is corticosteroid injections directly into the scalp or skin every 4 to 6 weeks. Some other treatments include topical corticosteroids, Rogaine, and anthralin. All treatments merely seek to grow hair back, they do not do anything to stop or treat alopecia areata.
Alopecia Areata Treatment with Research Trials
If you suffer from alopecia areata in San Diego, California Dermatology and Clinical Research Institute can help. At our Encinitas location we are constantly running medical research studies for those with skin ailments and dermatological conditions. If you have alopecia areata, contact California Dermatology and Clinical Research Institute today. Give us a call at (760) 203-3839.