Causes of Alopecia

The body has an extraordinary mechanism for fighting off invading foreign cells and infection. Unfortunately, in the case of Alopecia, the body treats its own cells as foreign invaders, sending out white blood cells to attack the hair follicles.

Autoimmunity is common in all people to some extent. It does not become a disease until it changes from being a benign process into a pathogenic response, causing mild or deleterious effects in children and adults.

While the exact mechanism for this autoimmune response is not yet known, research conducted on those experiencing the disease points to a single gene responsible for triggering the autoimmune response. Environmental triggers also cannot be ruled out; it has been theorized that an unrelated infection might begin the cycle of hair loss.

Individuals experiencing vitamin deficiency may suffer from hair loss, but there is little evidence that vitamin deficiency is a factor in the development of Alopecia. While administering the B vitamin biotin for cases of hair loss caused by vitamin deficiency has been shown to work, it has been ineffective to stimulate hair growth in those not suffering from a B vitamin deficiency.

Heredity is a large factor in the development of Alopecia. The disease is not in any way contagious, rather, the condition is more likely to occur in families that show a high incidence of autoimmune diseases. Families where one or more members show indications of Alopecia present a 10 to 20 percent likelihood of another family member developing the disease as well, compared to the control group which exhibits a 1 to 3 percent likelihood of developing Alopecia.

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