Among them, some instances such as ‘androgenic alopecia’ or male pattern hair loss can be termed as a natural consequences in males whereas some of the other alopecias which will be described later could actually be due to an underlying localized or systemic disease.
In a normal person, about 50 – 100 hairs will be shed daily and with almost 100,000 hairs in the scalp this would go unnoticed in most instances. At the same time, with age, the hair would thin out as well as develop a shorter life span than that of a younger person. As such, there may be a visible hair thinning in these individuals although it is not considered a disease process.
The occurrence of alopecia can result from many hazards and among them, hormonal derangements, damage to hair follicles, nutritional deficiencies as well as certain medications seem to play a major role. Following would be a brief account on the diseases that may manifest as‘alopecia’ in susceptible individuals but this should not be considered a complete list of diseases at all.
Lupus erythematoses and Lichen planus:
These are two skin diseases which are also termed as inflammatory diseases that have the potential to damage the hair follicles in the scalp. Such damage can prevent the hair from growing back and would lead to an alopecia named as ‘scarring alopecia’.
In such instances, the body immune system would act on the hair follicles themselves and leads to damage whereby it causes alopecia. But, in most instances, actual mechanism of these types of alopecia are not exactly understood and autoimmune thyroid disease seem to show an association with this condition although other such diseases cannot be directly linked.
Among many of the other complications associated with this disease, alopecia is another less frequent occurrence although the exact mechanism is not fully understood.
Local skin infections such as ring worm infections is also known to cause alopecia in susceptible individuals and it may present as localized patches of hair loss rather than a generalized loss of hair.
Apart from the above mentioned disease states, many other hormonal imbalances, psychological stressors, nutritional deficiencies as well as environmental hazards can lead to the development of alopecia and in case the problem is apparent, seeking medical advice would not be such a bad idea after all.