Autoimmune Diseases and Hair Loss
Hair loss is one of the most dreaded conditions, and it affects a whopping 25% of women and 50% of men over the age of 50. But it isn’t merely age-related. In fact, hair loss can be the result of several different factors, including genetics, hormones, medications, and general lifestyle choices. Most life stressors, including illness, emotional trauma, protein deprivation (during strict dieting), and hormonal changes like those in pregnancy, puberty, and menopause may cause hair loss, One of the most common culprits behind hair loss, especially when it happens before age 50, is autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune disease refers to a diverse group of disorders that involve almost every organs and systems of the body. It encompasses diseases of the nervous, gastrointestinal, and endocrine systems, as well as skin and other connective tissues, eyes, blood, and blood vessels. In all of these autoimmune diseases, the underlying problem that the body’s own immune system becomes misdirected and attacks the very organs it is designed to protect.
The prevalence of autoimmune diseasehas increased exponentially over the last 20-30 years. It is reported that roughly 700 million people around the world are living with some sort of autoimmune condition. It affects somewhere between 14.7 and 23.5 million Americans to date, according to The Autoimmune Registry.
There are more than 100 different autoimmune diseases. Most of them are long-term illnesses, with the severity of symptoms changing over time. With these types of conditions, as one’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body, one of the most common side effects, along with a slew of others, is hair loss. Some of these illnesses are similar to the situation as in extreme dieting and stress, where the body shuts down hair growth to preserve energy.
Some of the more common autoimmune diseases with hair loss include: alopecia areata, Lupus, psoariasis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Graves’disease, Hashimoto’s disease, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes.
Management of this type of hair loss includes: corticosteriods, topical immuotherapy, platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP), low level laser therapy, Minoxidil, and cyclical nutritional therapy, exosome therapy and keralase and surgical treatment (hair transplant) if needed.