Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that attack hair in small random patches. Hair loss usually affects the scalp, but can also in other parts of the body.
The exact cause of alopecia areata is unknown. Nevertheless, it is the most common in people with a family history of other autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
What are the symptoms of alopecia areata?
The major symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss. Hair usually falls in small round patches on the scalp. These patches are usually several centimeters or less. Hair loss may also occur in other body parts. You may first notice tufts of hair on your pillow or in the shower. However, other types of diseases also cause hair to fall in a similar pattern. Hair loss may just not be used to diagnose alopecia areata.
In rare cases, some people may be more extensive hair loss. Usually, this is an indication of another type of alopecia, such as:
• alopecia totalis, which is the loss of hair on the scalp
• alopecia universalis, which is the loss of hair on the body
The hair loss in connection with alopecia areata is unpredictable and random. The hair can grow back at any time and may have to drop out again. The extent of hair loss and regrowth varies greatly from person to person.