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Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles. In most cases, hair falls out in small, round patches on the scalp. Although uncommon, hair loss can be more extensive in some people and affect other parts of the body. This condition can progress to complete loss of scalp hair ( alopecia totalis) or total loss of all body hair (alopecia universalis). Although the exact cause of AA is unknown, roughly 20% of affected people have a family member with alopecia, suggesting that genetic factors may contribute to the development of the condition. There is no cure or approved therapy for AA; however, some people find that medications approved for other purposes can help regrow hair.
Source: GARD Last updated on 05-01-20
There are several estimates in the literature of the prevalence of alopecia areata. However, it appears that estimates slightly differ depending on the source. For example, according to older sources used by Medscape Reference, the prevalence in the general population was estimated at 0.1-0.2%, (a range of 1 to 2 per thousand people). According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) in 2004, alopecia areata affected approximately 2.5 million individuals in the United States (close to 1% of the population at that time). Authors of an article published in 2017 estimated that about 2% of people (1 in 50) develop alopecia areata at some point in their lifetime.
Last updated on 05-01-20
The American Hair Loss Association Web site lists resources for kids with alopecia. Click on American Hair Loss Association to view the page.
Last updated on 04-27-20
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