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Written by Dr. Ringpfeil

Alopecia Areata Treatment

Alopecia Areata - Overview

Alopecia areata is a disorder that affects hair follicles and is reflected in round patches of hair loss. Normally, the immune system functions to protect the body against infection and disease. In alopecia areata, the body's immune system mistakenly recognizes hair follicles as foreign and attacks them. The cause is not known, but the prevailing scientific hypothesis is that genetics plays a significant role in predisposition and a trigger initiates the attack on the hair follicles.

Diagnosis

Alopecia areata often begins in childhood. The risk is significantly increased if you have a close family member afflicted with the disease. Emotional or physical trauma typically precedes the hair loss by up to 3 months. Hair falls out in small, round patches leaving a smooth hairless scalp in affected areas. Degree of hair loss varies from one bare patch to considerable balding. In rare cases, the disease causes complete loss of hair on the scalp (alopecia totalis) or total body (alopecia universalis). Rarely, alopecia areata presents as diffuse hair loss. On occasion, a scalp biopsy may be performed. If additional signs or symptoms are present, blood tests may reveal other autoimmune conditions.

Management

In most instances, the hair regrows spontaneously; however, this process takes several months. When alopecia areata is located on the scalp and cannot easily be hidden by covering hair or clever hairstyles, the psychological impact of alopecia areata can be severe. There is no make up that imitates hair and a hat may be inappropriate in a school or working environment. A wig can temporarily become necessary.

Treatment and Medication

Alopecia areata is difficult to treat and only few treatments have been assessed in randomized controlled trials. The most common treatments seem to facilitate faster regrowth of hair rather than treat the underlying problem. Typical therapy includes topical corticosteroids, steroid injection under the skin surface, and ultraviolet light therapy, especially narrowband UVB. Irritating drugs may be applied to hairless areas to stimulate hair growth. Rarely, systemic immune suppressive treatments are indicated. Some people with alopecia areata try alternative treatments including acupuncture and Chinese herbs. There is no cure for alopecia areata.

Coping

Many are profoundly upset by their hair loss and some may require psychological support. It might be difficult to cope with relapse following or during initially successful treatment. These considerations are particularly important in children, as social disruption and focusing of the child's attention on their hair loss may result from active treatment. Contact with other sufferers or a patient support group is strongly recommended.

Prevention

When emotional stress is the known trigger, efforts should be made to redirect or avoid these stressors. Some may do well with biofeedback training, mediation or Yoga; others will find their own way of coping with these stressors.

General considerations to keep your hair healthy and minimize the appearance of hair loss include a nutritionally balanced diet; and gentle handling of your hair. Whenever possible, allow your hair to air-dry naturally; avoid tight hairstyles, such as braids, buns or ponytails; and avoid compulsively twisting, rubbing or pulling your hair.

How can we help you?

SKIN

# of surveys: 3750
Last updated: 05/25/2018 9:32 AM,

PATIENT RATINGS

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definitely
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0.58%
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0.02%

Compare our service to other similar practices

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very good
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good
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Overall doctor performance

excellent
94.2%
very good
4.89%
good
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The doctor listened to you attentively

excellent
93.9%
very good
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good
1.05%
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The doctor took time to answer your questions

excellent
94.0%
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poor
0.02%
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The doctor explained treatment options

excellent
94.3%
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The doctor explained treatment options

excellent
92.0%
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5.69%
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Front desk performance

excellent
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very good
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poor
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very poor
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Aesthetician performance

excellent
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very good
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Office comfort

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Parking

excellent
66.4%
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14.4%
good
15.7%
poor
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0.9%

Friendliness of the staff during appointment

excellent
90.9%
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7.23%
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What WE DID WELL

(Answers:674)

everything

#12018-07-24

Everyone was friendly, office was nice and bright, bathrooom was clean.

#22019-03-14

The doctor took a lot of time explaining my treatment and making sure I was comfortable.

#32019-01-13

Very well organized! Dr. Ringpfeil was very professional and thorough!

#42018-06-23

Once in the examining room, I was treated professionally by both individuals whom I saw.

#52011-06-01 16:55:08

The staff was thorough and extremely friendly, I felt welcomed and well informed.

#62011-12-01 14:56:48

Loved the doctor. She was very friendly and it was refreshing to see someone who actually enjoys their job!

#72010-11-11 09:48:40

Knowledgeable and friendly staff...very short wait

#82010-12-22 11:56:01

I liked the staff and the doc!

#92019-02-22

I thought the waiting area was decorated beautifully and made me feel relaxed and at home.

#102018-12-20

What can we do better?

(answers:373)

Everything was good

#12011-03-08 15:22:54

Please consider offering more appointments after 5pm since it can be a challenge to take time off from work.

#22019-01-24

Tea? Just kidding! Everything was great.

#32010-10-26 10:16:13

Completely satisfied

#42010-10-20 09:59:20

Everything was great

#52019-05-16

Everything to date that your office has performed has been done professionally and expeditiously. It's a pleasure to deal with all the staff.

#62018-09-26

Medical newsletters or updates are helpful and informative. If it is advisable to have an annual mole check, for example, friendly reminders are always appreciated.

#72019-03-14

Shorter wait

#82019-01-10

Can't think of anything, all was excellent.

#92011-05-03 10:51:30

Be on time for our appointments

#102011-11-16 13:56:14
Customer Rating : 4.8

Based on 4 ratings