Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks its own healthy hair follicles. Studies show that people with alopecia areata can have other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease.
What body systems are affected by alopecia?
In alopecia areata, the immune system attacks the structures in skin that form hair (hair follicles). Alopecia areata usually affects the head and face, though hair can be lost from any part of the body.
Does alopecia affect the whole body?
This patchy hair loss occurs most often on the scalp but can affect other parts of the body as well. Uncommonly, the hair loss involves the entire scalp (in which case the condition is known as alopecia totalis) or the whole body (alopecia universalis).
How long can alopecia 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.
Can you recover from alopecia?
Approximately 50 percent of people with mild alopecia areata recover within a year; however, most people will experience more than one episode during their lifetime. Approximately 1 person in 50 will suffer from alopecia areata at some point in their life. It occurs in men and women of all races equally.
Is alopecia a serious disease?
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.