Alopecia Areata In Children
Alopecia areata in children often starts out as just small round patches of baldness, no larger than a quarter on the scalp. While this may not seem like much to the average adult, to a child, this is devastating. Everything and anything that makes you different as a child feels overwhelming, and when it involves something that affects the appearance, it is doubly so.
Alopecia areata in children is considered to be an autoimmune disease, since it is thought that the body is attacking its own hair follicles. The white blood cells, which are designed by nature to attack foreign bodies like viruses, go into overdrive and decide that the hair follicles are the enemy.
Children's Alopecia Areata
As they attack the hair follicles, it causes the hair to fall out. This may not be just confined to the scalp, though, this could happen all over the body. Alopecia areata in children is not thought to be hereditary but there is some evidence that are some contributing factors in genetics to alopecia.
Things like having family members who have autoimmune diseases like lupus or thyroid disease, and family members exhibiting alopecia areata may predispose other members of the family to the disease. There have been cases of alopecia areata in children with identical twins where one twin develops alopecia areata and the other twin has a fifty five percent chance of developing the disease.
What all of this boils down to is that one in five people, who have alopecia areata, have someone in their family with the condition. Since there is no cure for alopecia areata and there is no treatment for alopecia areata in children, your doctor may prescribe other medications to treat the condition.
Something to remember though, this is a long term treatment. It is going to take time for anything to happen. Most of the treatments are topical creams or ointments and involve things like corticosteroids or minoxidil, which is also known as Rogaine.
Alopecia areata in children is not an easy thing to predict. There is no telling whether or not the hair is going to grow back or if there are going to be new patches of baldness. Doctors do know that if alopecia does develop when a child is in their early teens that they will generally have intermittent bouts throughout their life.
Alopecia Areata Is Not:
At the very least, alopecia areata in children is not a painful condition and does not make one physically sick. It is not contagious and other than the obvious physical appearance, your child is healthy.
Alopecia areata is not going to interfere with anything that your child wishes to do in life, from school to sports, to college. Alopecia areata is not going to reduce your life expectancy.
That is not to discount the psychological effects of alopecia areata in children. Appearances in children is everything. Learning to deal with something like this can be one of the hardest things that they ever do. Help them to learn what they can. If needed, talk to their doctor about finding support groups and additional help for alopecia areata in children.