The Medical and Psychosocial Associations of Alopecia: Recognizing Hair Loss as More Than a Cosmetic Concern

    Dustin H. Marks, Lauren R. Penzi, Erin Ibler, Athena Manatis-Lornell, Dina Hagigeorges, Mariko Yasuda, Lynn A. Drake, Maryanne M. Senna
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    TLDR Alopecia is linked to various health and mental conditions, impacts life quality, and needs medical attention beyond its cosmetic effects.
    The 2018 document highlights the complex nature of alopecia, stressing that it is not just a cosmetic issue but is linked to various medical and psychiatric conditions, such as thyroid disease, lupus, diabetes, atopic dermatitis, sinusitis, coronary artery disease, anxiety, depression, and suicidality. It points out the negative impact of hair loss on quality of life and the economic burden, with the alopecia market projected to reach $11.8 billion by 2024. The document notes gender-based pricing discrimination in treatments like minoxidil and the high costs of other treatments like PRP and scalp cooling systems, which are often not covered by insurance. It calls for alopecia to be managed within a medical paradigm, with appropriate counseling and treatment interventions, and for future research to further clarify the causal relationships between psychiatric comorbidities, quality of life, and alopecia. Additionally, it discusses studies that link alopecia with systemic health conditions, such as Crohn's disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, hyperandrogenism, and hormonal dysfunction, emphasizing the need for comprehensive medical evaluations for those with hair loss.
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