Alopecia Universalis- Information, Treatment & Prevention

By: Juliet Cohen

Alopecia universalis is a medical disease in which the discomfit are unable to grow hair on the entire body. Alopecia universalis not contagious and is not caused by any food. Alopecia universalis can occur at any age, and is currently believed to be an autoimmune disorder. Patients are usually otherwise healthy, but have more thyroid disease and vitiligo than the general population. Those with vitiligo (patchy loss of skin color) may also develop alopecia universalis in time. Aside from genetic tendencies, the contributing causes of Alopecia universalis are not known. It is important that those with it are careful to protect themselves from the sun, bacteria, and other potentially harmful elements, as the scalp, nasal cavity and eyes are not protected. Like many other health problems, it sometimes starts after a stressful event, but this is not usually the case.

Alopecia universalis is the most severe form of alopecia areata.

Many several with Alopecia universalis are produce with some hair, but then begin losing it very quickly. The disorder is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. Alopecia universalis is often discovered by a hairdresser, as there are usually no symptoms. The hair stops growing and then falls out from the roots. Alopecia universalis may be acute and short-lived, or remain permanently. The possibility of regrowth does remain however, even for those with 100% hair loss for many years. Alopecia universalis may occur in more than one member of the family, and such families may develop other autoimmune diseases such as pernicious anaemia and vitiligo. It is also more common in patients with chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome. Alopecia universalis does not result in physical disability, but it can be emotionally very distressing.

There is no standard treatment for alopecia universalis. Treatment must be proceed in order to maintain the hair, or until the disease has run it's course. Since treatments for advanced forms of Alopecia like AU are less effective, a wig may be a good option for you. Many treatments have been explored, including immunomodulatory agents such as imiquimod. Some lotions applied to the scalp do seem to result in temporary improvement in some people, but the hair falls out again as soon as they are stopped. Medicines which are often tried include topical steroids and minoxidil, and irritants such as dithranol. The most successful treatment to date has been immunotherapy. Immunotherapy works by provoking a contact allergic dermatitis in affected areas by applying a low concentration of a material to which the patient has been made allergic.

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