Alopecia totalis; Alopecia universalis
Definition of Alopecia areata
Alopecia areata is a condition that causes round patches of hair loss.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The cause of alopecia areata is unknown. About a fifth of people with this condition have a family history of alopecia. Alopecia areata may sometimes occur with autoimmune diseases.
Signs and tests
On occasion, a scalp biopsy may be performed. Several blood tests may be done, because alopecia areata may occur with autoimmune conditions.
No fully effective treatments are available. Typical therapy includes:
Full recovery of hair is common. However, some people may have a poorer outcome, including those with:
Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/3/2008