Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune disease characterized by nonscarring and patchy hair loss (balding patches on head) without any symptom of inflammation. Its pathogenesis is not completely understood. The hair loss extent varies as the disease may occur as a single, multiple patches, or a total hair loss from the scalp which is also known as alopecia totalis, or loss of both body as well as scalp hair, commonly referred as alopecia universalis. A range of treatments are known to induce significant hair growth in patients with alopecia areata, however, they fail to alter its course. Patchy alopecia areata is much easier to treat as compared to alopecia universalis or alopecia totalis. The alopecia areata treatment/ hair loss treatment modalities should be modified according to the severity of the disease and the age of the patient. Alopecia areata is seen before the age of 21 years in approximately 40 to 50 percent of the patients. Nearly 20% of patients with develop the disease after attaining the age of 40. A positive family history is reported in around 20 percent of patients. It equally affects both men and women, and there is no evidence regarding its association with any particular race. In the United Kingdom, 2% of new cases of alopecia areata are referred to trichologists. According to the data obtained from Nutrition Examination and National Health Survey, approximately 0.15 percent of population in the United States is affected by alopecia areata. This disease is highly unpredictable which makes it difficult to manage and the availabletherapies are unsatisfactory. Alopecia areata is a stressful disease and doctors are required to advice the patients about the available treatment options and their efficacy.
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