Alopecia areata is a hair loss condition in which the body’s immune system forms antibodies against the hair follicles causing hair to fall out in smooth, often circular patches on the scalp. For those who suffer from the autoimmune disease, especially children, hair loss can be confusing, embarrassing, and a source of stress. However, there are support organizations formed exclusively to help those with this hair loss condition. The National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) works to support research to find a cure for alopecia areata, educates those who are unaware of the disease, and supports individuals who suffer from the condition.
The NAAF website offers alopecia areata sufferers a wealth of information and even has a helpful page just for those who have been recently diagnosed. There, NAAF explains the three types of alopecia areata: alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, and alopecia universalis. Alopecia totalis occurs when the antibodies cause all the hair on the scalp to fall out, resulting in complete baldness. Alopecia universalis occurs when all hair on the body is lost (including scalp hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, and body hair).
The website also has product lists for those looking for things like wigs, skincare products, headwear, and more. As an all-around resource for alopecia areata sufferers, the NAAF also has an annual convention to spread information about current research and happenings within the organization, as well as offering as a meeting place for those with alopecia areata.
In the most recent NAAF newsletter from the convention, Dr. Richard Strick, a dermatologist from Los Angeles, California explains that many alopecia areata patients believe that if they boosted their immune system’s strength, the hair loss condition would abate. However, he states that strengthening the immune system would actually strengthen the body’s attack on the hair follicles. However, weakening the immune system leaves patients at a high risk for other more dangerous infections.
It is information like this that makes the NAAF a useful organization not only to alopecia areata sufferers, but also to those who want to learn more about the condition and to researchers working toward a cure. At The Griffin Center for Hair Restoration and Research, we work with patients who suffer from hair loss caused by many factors: genetics, autoimmune diseases, trauma, trichotillomania, and more. Knowing the cause of hair loss, whether in men, women, or children, can better help our hair loss and restoration specialists to gauge which treatments will be most effective in helping to stop and reverse hair loss.
For more information on alopecia areata or Dr. Edmond Griffin, check out our website. You can also stay up to date on the latest hair loss and restoration news by connecting with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.