Alopecia Areata and Autoimmune
After numerous researches, carried out throughout the world, Alopecia Areata has been categorised as an Autoimmune diseases.
Although Alopecia Areata has been accepted as an Autoimmune Disease, Alopecia Areata still remains a mysterious disorder since its trigger, progress and trend still remains unclear.
Never the less throughout researches many discoveries have contributed towards hair growth. These efforts have repeatedly reflected evidence to relate this medical disorder with human autoimmune.
The most recent breakthrough has strengthened the fact that our own defensive system, primarily functions to protect us from harmful illnesses, has become Alopecia Areata's cause.
Unknown as to why the system reacts adversely towards our hair follicles, microscopic images show body's lymphocytes covering the affected hair follicles. This abnormal concentration brings the follicles to a halt resulting hair to stop growing.
Autoimmune diseases are mainly medical disorders that are developed due to our own body’s defensive mechanism becoming hyperactive and attacking our cells and tissues.
As a result, the body tissues fail or become inactive. Although the reason still remains unknown, scientists have made a remarkable finding about this mysterious hair loss.
This intelligent protective mechanism operates as a defensive front to protect and remove any unwanted external or unhealthy cells. A few of the immune systems’ building blocks are the T-cells, Lymphocytes, Antibodies and more.
When a person in affected by an Autoimmune Disease the immune system fails to differentiate between the body’s own tissues and external organisms. In Alopecia Areata the body's defensive mechanism inactivates hair growth cells in the follicle.
This can be clearly seen in the following microscopic diagrams that shows how some hair roots being engulfed by Lymphocytes.
In diagram labeled ‘a’, the hair roots have been completely surrounded by what appears to be black dots. These black dots are lymphocytes. The affected person may notice that the scalp becomes smooth since the pores through which hair emerges out of skin is covered by a membrane.
This smooth surface makes it difficult for conventional treatments to penerate. Meanwhile images ‘b’ and ‘c’ show how follicles have became unnoticeable.
Finally image ‘d’ shows a closer view of the hair root being contained by the immune system and has became inactive. A closer observation on image labeled ‘c’ shows that the passage through which the hair should exit the skin is covered by a membrane.
The two images above provides a closer view of how the follicles of another person affected by Alopecia Areata is being surrounded by his Lymphocytes.
Both images are of the similar spot, with the lower image magnified to provide a clearer sight of lymphocytes totally engulfing the hair follicle. As a result the function of hair root is completely handicapped, leaving it inactive.
Meanwhile the pore through which a hair surfaces out of the skin has been well covered by a membrane resulting a smooth surface on the scalp. This membrane has been observed to be thin in the beginning stages of Alopecia Areata (within the first six months).
As time passes this membrane becomes thicker and at this stage treatments tend to work slower as penetration rate is reduced. Notice that the following image shows a follicle that has been exposed to Alopecia Areata for a longer duration of time.
In the two images above, the membranes (at the top and bottom of the follicle) has not only closed but has became relatively thicker than the images above due to a longer exposure to this autoimmune disease. In fact the follicle has become unnoticeable.
The physical appearance of this scalp will be smooth surface. Thicker membrane would result in patient showing less response to any type of treatment.
As the membrane grows thicker treatment being administered proves to be far ineffective compared to a person treated during early stages Alopecia Areata.
Most patients tend to wait in a hopeful attempt for the hair to grow on its own without realizing the condition only worsens as time passes. During this period there are chances that this Autoimmune disease might progress to advanced stages of Alopecia Areata.
Understand Alopecia Areata
What the different variants of Alopecia Areata? How does it vary? Find out which type of Alopecia Areata you are looking for and fid out how best to manage your treatment.
Most important question that remains a mystery in Alopecia Areata is the cause. Learn what some of the latest findings has shown together with microscopic images of the affected follicle.
Get to know which of the treatments has shown best results. More importantly learn more about various side effects caused by the treatments and how to minimise it.