Alopecia areata: Clinical presentation, diagnosis, and unusual cases

    May 2011 in “Dermatologic Therapy
    Andreas M. Finner
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    TLDR Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that can lead to complete baldness, often associated with other autoimmune conditions, and half of the cases may see hair return within a year.
    Alopecia areata (AA) is a non-scarring form of hair loss with a 2% lifetime risk, primarily affecting individuals under 30 years old. It manifests in several forms and can progress to complete scalp or body hair loss. The disorder is often linked with other autoimmune conditions such as atopy, thyroid disease, and vitiligo. Diagnosis is mainly clinical, with dermoscopy and biopsy used for confirmation. Spontaneous hair regrowth occurs in up to 50% of cases within a year, but the prognosis is less favorable for those with early onset, long duration, extensive hair loss, nail changes, atopy, or other autoimmune diseases. No standard lab tests are required except when thyroid disease is suspected. The document emphasizes the importance of personal and family history in AA and the impact of the condition on quality of life.
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