Everything You Need to Know About Jada Pinkett Smith’s Condition
After what happened at the Oscars with Will Smith, Chris Rock, and Jada Pinkett Smith, everyone wants to know what exactly Alopecia is. So let’s have a closer look at the disease, its symptoms, and what are the possible treatments.
What is Alopecia
Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder that results in unpredictable hair loss. Patients start losing hair in prominent clumps that are the size and shape of a coin.
However, hair loss is not the same for all patients. Some patients may lose only a few spots, while others may lose huge hair chunks. Hair may also grow back on these bald spots.
Types of Alopecia
There are different types of Alopecia, with Alopecia Areata being their most common form. The other, rarer types of Alopecia are:
Alopecia Areata Totalis: The loss of all hair on one’s head.
Alopecia Areata Universalis: The loss of hair over your entire body.
Diffuse Alopecia Areata: Sudden thinning of hair instead of coming out in chunks.
Ophiasis Alopecia Areata: Hair loss in band shapes along the sides and the back of one’s head.
One in ten people goes on to develop Alopecia Universalis or Alopecia Totalis.
Symptoms of Alopecia
The main and sometimes only symptom of Alopecia is hair loss. Patients may notice small bald patches on their scalp or other body parts.
These patches get darker and more significant. The patches grow together and form a more prominent bald spot. Hair grows back in several areas, and new patches continue to develop.
Furthermore, there is increased hair fall during winters. Another common symptom is redness and brittleness in toenails and fingernails.
The bald patches of skin are smooth with no redness or rashes. Patients may experience itching or tingling sensations from time to time before their hair falls out of a spot.
Causes and Risks of Alopecia
Autoimmune diseases are when the white blood cells in a person’s body attack their cells. In the case of Alopecia, the attacked part of the body is the hair follicles. Doctors are not sure why this attack occurs, but the patients who suffer from Alopecia have a specific gene mutation that brings about this change.
In addition, you may get Alopecia if a family member suffers from it. One in five alopecia patients has a family member who also has the condition. People with Thyroid syndrome, Down’s syndrome, Asthma, Vitiligo, and Pernicious anemia are also prone to minor forms of Alopecia. Some studies also show stress as a trigger for Alopecia in extreme cases.
Treatments of Alopecia
If you think you are suffering from Alopecia, you need to see a dermatologist. Go through your symptoms with your doctor, and they will take a closer look at your bald spots.
In some rare cases, the doctor may suggest that you get a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Unfortunately, there is no current cure for Alopecia. However, there are several treatments that patients can try.
The most common treatment is corticosteroids to suppress the immune system and slow down the onset of the disease. In addition, several other medications like DPCP, Minoxidil, and Anthralin are prescribed to patients to either promote hair growth or go on to affect the immune system.
Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder, meaning it is not contagious, nor does it make people directly sick. However, diseases can be hard to adapt to.
In addition, the process of healing and treating this disease is a traumatic experience for many individuals, and support groups and counseling should be sought to discuss the feelings and recovery of the patient.