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Some Frequently asked Questions for those Newly Diagnosed

Discussion in 'Newly Diagnosed Alopecians' started by Joann, May 2, 2008.

  1. Joann

    Joann Moderator

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    Welcome Newbies :)

    To help you with some of the questions you may have here are some FAQ taken from the National Alopecia Areata Foundation site:

    What is alopecia areata?
    Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune disease that results in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere. It usually starts with one or more small, round, smooth patches. It occurs in males and females of all ages and races, but onset most often occurs in childhood. It is estimated that approximately two percent of the population will be affected at some point in their lives, or over 4.5 million people in the United States.

    In alopecia areata, the affected hair follicles are mistakenly attacked in groups by a person's own immune system (white blood cells), resulting in the arrest of the hair growth stage. These affected follicles become very small, drastically slow down production, and grow no hair visible above the surface for months or years. The scalp is the most commonly affected area, but the beard or any hair-bearing site can be affected alone or together with the scalp.

    Some people develop only a few bare patches that regrow hair within a year. In others, extensive patchy loss occurs, and in a few, all scalp hair is lost (referred to as alopecia totalis) or, hair is lost from the entire scalp and body (referred to as alopecia universalis). No matter how widespread the hair loss, the hair follicles remain alive and are ready to resume normal hair production whenever they receive the appropriate signal. In all cases, hair regrowth may occur even without treatment and even after many years.


    What is the signal that triggers the disease to start or stop?

    Current research suggests that something triggers the immune system to suppress the hair follicle. It isn't known what this trigger is, and whether it comes from outside the body like a virus, or from inside. Recent research indicates that some persons have genetic markers that increase both their susceptibility to develop alopecia areata, as well as the degree of disease severity.

    Is there a cure for alopecia areata?

    At present, there is no cure for alopecia areata, although the hair may return by itself. There are various treatments, which are most effective in milder cases, but none are universally effective.

    Are treatments available?

    There are several available treatments; choice of treatment depends mainly on a person's age and the extent of their hair loss.

    Alopecia areata occurs in two forms: a mild patchy form where less than 50 percent of scalp hair is lost, and an extensive form where greater than 50 percent of scalp hair is lost. These two forms of alopecia areata behave quite differently, and the choice of treatment depends on which form is present.

    Current treatments do not turn alopecia areata off; they stimulate the follicle to produce hair again, and treatments need to be continued until the disease turns itself off. Treatments are most effective in milder cases.

    What treatments are available for extensive alopecia areata where greater than 50% hair is lost?

    Cortisone injections. The most common treatment is the injection of cortisone into the bare skin patches. The injections are usually given by a dermatologist who uses a tiny needle to give multiple injections into the skin in and around the bare patches. The injections are repeated once a month. Both the needle prick and the slight tingling are usually well tolerated and there is no discomfort after leaving the doctor's office. If new hair growth occurs, it is usually visible within four weeks. Treatment, however, does not prevent new patches from developing. There are few side effects from local cortisone injections. Occasionally, temporary depressions in the skin result from the local injections, but these "dells" usually fill in by themselves.

    Topical minoxidil. Five percent topical minoxidil solution applied twice daily may grow hair in alopecia areata. Scalp, eyebrows, and beard hair may respond. If scalp hair regrows completely, treatment can be stopped. Two percent topical minoxidil solution alone is not effective in alopecia areata; response may improve if cortisone cream is applied 30 minutes after the minoxidil. Topical minoxidil is safe, easy to use, and does not lower blood pressure in persons with normal blood pressure. Neither 2 percent nor 5 percent topical minoxidil solution is effective in treating those with 100 percent scalp hair loss.

    Anthralin cream or ointment. Another treatment is the application of anthralin cream or ointment. Anthralin is a synthetic, tar-like substance that has been used widely for psoriasis. Anthralin is applied to the bare patches once daily and washed off after a short time, usually 30 to 60 minutes later. If new hair growth occurs, it is seen in eight to twelve weeks. Anthralin can be irritating to the skin and can cause temporary, brownish discoloration of the treated skin. By using short treatment times, skin irritation and skin staining are reduced without decreasing effectiveness. Care must be taken not to get anthralin in the eyes. Hands must be washed after applying.


    An important point to remember:

    "In all forms of alopecia areata, the hair follicles remain alive and are ready to resume normal hair production whenever they receive the appropriate signal. In all cases, hair regrowth may occur even without treatment and even after many years."

    :grouphug: Joann
     
  2. BGDL

    BGDL Guest

    http://www.bad.org.uk/healthcare/guidel ... Areata.pdf

    Guidelines for the Management of Alopecia Areata from the British Journal of Dermatology is available on line and is the most comprehensive, well-researched yet easily understood compendium of safe treatment guidelines you will find anywhere. Download for free. Also, the link is always on the Treatment page at baldgirlsdolunch.org

    In addition, we find that the materials of the NIAMS( National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Heath of the US Department of Health and Human Services) to be more acceptable in appearance and content to educate ourselves and others on the basics of alopecia areata than materials created by the naaf. At one time, the naaf was the only organization distributing materials, however that is no longer the case and others are doing it better. Helpful passages are posted on the Treatments page at baldgirlsdolunch.org

    The NIAMS "Q and A About Alopecia Areata" publication # 03-5143 is free in unlimited numbers in the US and created with American tax dollars by the National Institutes of Health. Either download from the link below or write to NIAMS and request as many free copies as you need. ( NIAMS/NIH, 1 AMS Circle, Bethesda, MD 20892-3675) When we request these materials, it demonstrates that they are needed. If the requests dry up, the production of materials is in jeopardy. Support the wonderful work of the NIH...your tax dollars working for you.

    The NIAMS 22 page booklet is here: [/url]http://www.niams.gov/health_info/alopecia_areata/default.asp.[/url]

    If you need NIAMS booklets immediately we can mail them to you within 48 hours from our supply on hand. Contact info@baldgirlsdolunch.org for shipping details.
     
  3. blessedandpositive

    blessedandpositive New Member

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    Need to find a dr. in the Westchester County/NY, NY area

    Hi,
    I am fairly newly diagnosed and have gone to regular dermatologists, but I would like to find a dr.who specializes in hair loss. I found a Dr.Phillip Burdar ( I think that is the name) on east 63rd street in Manhattan, but he does not accept my insurance. If anyone has any names of doctors that you can provide me in Westchester county, New York or in New York City, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!
     

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