Alopecia which is pronouncedal-oh-PEE-shah air-ee-AH-tah is an autoimmune skin disease which results in the loss of hair on both the scalp and body of a person.


It is indiscriminate where it strikes, and anyone whatever their age, background, social standing, gender ethnic origins etc can develop Alopecia.


However it does seem to start in childhood very frequently. 


Alopecia affects approximately 1.7% of the population within western society with five million sufferers living in the United States alone.


Alopecia is very unpredictable; it can strike without warning to any unsuspecting person.


It can have a profound effect on a person's life which can result in long term depression for many sufferers who see their Alopecia problem as a great blight on their life. 


For many of us, our hair is our crowning glory, lovingly cared for and nurtured. In most societies a woman's hair is a part of her beauty.


Many women spend many hundreds if not thousands of dollars in ensuring their hair is kept in optimum condition.


So to wake up one morning and find much of it on the pillow, or when washing it to discover much of your hair at the bottom of the drain can have devastating consequences on a person suffering from Alopecia. 


Many people who have never suffered from this disease are unaware of what Alopecia actually is, so when they see someone who is suffering from the condition they are often unaware of the psychological problems the sufferer may be going through.


They may also think the person looks unsightly or even that they have some communicable disease.


It's often unthinking bias on the part of those uneducated about the disease of Alopecia that makes life more uncomfortable for the person suffering from it. 


Because it is an autoimmune problem, it means the body mistakenly sees the hair follicles as an "attacker"


Therefore the person's immune system goes into a defensive/attack mode and destroys the hair follicles.

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It tends to happen in stages with the first signs of the problem a small round bald patch on the scalp.


It may just stay at that stage, or it may progress further until only strands of hair are left on the scalp or the person becomes completely bald. (Alopecia Totalis) 


Unfortunately Alopecia doesn't always confine itself to the scalp. For some people the condition can be even more radical with complete body hair loss.


This can include eyelashes, eyebrows, the pubic regions underarms etc. (Alopecia Universalis). 

This of course can be even more devastating for the person who is suffering from the disease on a psychological level.   


Alopecia is not life threatening, but it is a socially disfiguring disease. Though there is not much that can be done for the loss of body hair such as eyelashes, pubic hair etc, there are now wigs that can be bought that are so well made that no-one would ever suspect they are not the person's real hair.


Unfortunately these types of wigs come at a high price which many people can't afford. It may be worthwhile checking to see if your health insurance covers you for this type of problem.


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