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Signs and Symptoms of Alopecia

Alopecia is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own hair follicles. Hair can be lost from any part of the body. Alopecia areata is the mildest form of the condition, marked by hair loss that is partial or patchy on the scalp or on other parts of the body. Alopecia totalis involves the loss of all facial and scalp hair, and alopecia universalis is the total loss of all body hair.

Only a very small percentage of people will have total hair loss. Often alopecia areata is seen along with other autoimmune disorders, particularly autoimmune thyroiditis, lupus, Addison’s disease, vitiligo and diabetes.  We have put together a list of the most common signs and symptoms of alopecia below. Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Alopecia

  • hair loss, usually round or oval hairless patches, usually on the scalp
  • brittle nails
  • burning sensation
  • itching

The primary symptom is hair loss, with round hairless patches.  Most people present with only one patch, about the size of a quarter.  The most frequent location is the scalp.  In somerare cases, hair is lost from the eyebrows and extremities.  In a very small percentage of cases, hair is lost over the entire body.



Diagnosis of Alopecia

There are no specific tests for alopecia, and a diagnosis is made based upon the doctor’s clinical observation.  The practitioners with the greatest knowledge and experience with alopecia are dermatologists.

Most people will spontaneously regrow hair within several months to a year, with or without treatment. Once you’ve had an episode of alopecia, however, you have a 90 percent chance of having a recurrence within five years. In a small percentage of patients, the hair loss is permanent.


Recommended – Test for Heavy Metals and Mineral Imbalances using Hair Tissue Analysis

Hair Tissue Analysis Report

Hair Tissue Analysis Report

We suggest getting a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) to help you determine accurately what your body needs more of in terms of essential trace minerals and needs to eliminate in terms of toxic heavy metals and toxic mineral ratios. Toxic mineral ratios and toxic metal accumulation following long term or acute exposure can contribute greatly to degenerative conditions like Alopecia.

Essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium and sodium all have important metabolic functions. However, too little or too much of any of these essential minerals can have an adverse affect on the human body and it’s ability to recover.

How can a hair analysis help me achieve better health? If we consider that diet is what we consume and nutrition is what we retain, then we can see that discovering what your body needs when it needs it is a valuable tool in creating health.

The dangers of exposure to toxic heavy metals such as mercury, lead and aluminum have been well documented over the years. Levels of heavy metals in the body can only be accurately measured using a hair tissue analysis or a chelation challenge test (which can be expensive and have serious side-effects). Blood or urine tests give information about your metal or mineral levels at the time of the test only.

Testing for minerals in the urine measures the minerals that are being excreted from your body – not necessarily what has been absorbed as fuel for your body. So blood and urine tests are like snapshots whereas a hair analysis is the video of your mineral retention.

A hair analysis provides a biological profile of the past 2 – 3 months of intracellular activity revealing a unique metabolic world, which cannot be seen through most other tests. The hair mineral analysis gives you or your healthcare professional much-needed information about mineral deficiencies and chemical imbalances in your body, especially if you’re suffering from symptoms of any disease or disorder, including Alopecia.

For FAQ’s about hair analysis, please click here.

For an overview of what is covered in a comprehensive hair analysis report (by Trace Elements, Inc.), please click here.

Hair Analysis Graph Results 1

Hair Analysis Bar Graph Results 2

Bar Graph Results

shopping cart icon To purchase a comprehensive Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (by Trace Elements, Inc.) from Evenbetternow Natural Health Solutions, please click here.


Books for People With Signs and Symptoms of Alopecia

Alopecia Areata: Understanding and Coping with Hair Loss
Wendy J. A. Thompson
Hair Loss: Principles of Diagnosis and Management of Alopecia
Jerry Shapiro


The Girl With No Hair: A Story About Alopecia Areata (Health Press for Kids)
Elizabeth Murphy-Melas
Alopecia Areata – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References – SECOND EDITION
Icon Group International

What Causes Alopecia?

  • Genetic predisposition
  • The presence of other autoimmune disorder
  • Certain drugs, such as the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen
  • Heavy metal poisoning
  • Hormonal imbalance, especially levels of estrogen and testosterone



Alopecia Areata Resources

General Patient Resources

  • National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF)   www.naaf.org

Just Diagnosed? Living with Alopecia Areata; Research; Our Stories & Photos; Support & Resources; Programs & Events; Products for People with Alopecia.

  • Alopecia Online           www.alopeciaonline.org.uk/resources.asp

Here’s where to find further information on all things alopecia-related. You can catch up on the latest research, find links to useful organisations, read up on books you may find helpful or browse through our supplier’s directory.

  • Alopecia Areata Info . com     http://www.alopeciaareatainfo.com/alopecia-areata-resources.shtml

Comprehensive resources on Alopecia Areata and hair loss treatment. Detailed info on causes of alopecia areata & its treatment

  • keratin.com     www.keratin.com

This site offers a wealth of information on treatments and new research.

Medical Resources

  • American Academny of Dermatology, 930 N. Meacham Rd., P.O. Box 4014, Schaumburg IL 60168, 847-330-0230    www.aad.org
  • Medline Plus Encyclopedia    www.mdlinx.com/dermatology/resource/resource.cfm/alopecia