The results of a five-year study into hair loss concluded recently. The results highlight why diagnosis is key in the hair loss fight. We look closer.
Many of us will be familiar with this condition, even if we do not know anyone has suffered from it. Typically, it sees sufferers experience random patches of hair loss, usually circular and about the size of a coin. The name alopecia areata actually turns out to be an umbrella term for a range of associated diseases. Naturally, if you want to win the war against your own hair loss, diagnosis is key in the hair loss fight.
Two of these versions, alopecia areata incognita (AAI) and diffuse alopecia areata (AAI), produce a different outcome for the sufferer. Instead of small round patches, they will go through a possibly acute diffuse thinning.
The study set out to look into every feature of the conditions, by reviewing the clinical, trichoscopy, histological, and therapeutic features of both. In doing so, they hoped to improve the ability of the medical community to tell them apart and treat accordingly.
Looking For Symptoms
While both conditions essentially present with the same symptoms, acute and diffuse thinning, the team was looking for the differences. This, they hoped, would enable trichologists and dermatologists to distinguish between them and improve both diagnosis and treatment. Because diagnosis is key in the hair loss fight it was essential to provide reliable tools.
Looking through the clinical case notes was no doubt informative. But the key breakthroughs came when the team explored the trichoscopy and histopathological results. Both of these methods involve a microscopic investigation of the affected area. Histology is the study of the microscopic anatomy, down at the tissue level. While trichoscopy is an associated science that concentrates its lens on the scalp and hair.
Combining results from the two produced a few surprising outcomes while giving some clarity to the problems of diagnosis.
Clear Guidance From Trichoscopy
The great news is that this extensive study has produced positive results. They were able to identify some key differences between the conditions that a professional can use to diagnose correctly every time.
To begin with, the conditions each have a preference for a different part of the scalp. Both will affect the parietal region, above the ears. But DAA will also affect the area in front of the ears while AAI is more likely to be found around the base of the head at the back. While indicative, it was clear that a clinical examination alone would not solve the problem.
Trichoscopy was indicated by the study to be a crucial player in diagnosis. A microscopic examination of patients with AAI revealed yellow dots. Some were empty, some had vellus hair or small hairs on regrowth. They noted that pigtail hair was very frequent and almost exclusive to AAI. Their first clear sign. This was accompanied by news of a similarly clear indicator on DAA.
They identified black dots as more frequent along with dystrophic hairs, ones which have broken off at the base, in cases of DAA.
Hair Loss For Women
Five years is a long study and represents the hard work of a lot of people. They have done important work in enabling diagnosis and treatment for these distressing diseases. Both of which are eminently treatable. As always in the war on hair loss, diagnosis is key in the hair loss fight. It informs your hair professional on how to precisely treat your condition.
Best of all, the results of their hard work are now accessible by you at your local trichologist’s clinic.
Of course, here at Hair Loss For Women, we have our very own hair loss heroine. We would like to offer you the opportunity to discuss your hair loss situation with a friendly, globally recognized, expert. Ranbir is a qualified trichologist and a full member of The Institute of Trichologists. A committed hair professional, Ranbir has years of experience and a well-earned reputation for thought-leadership and innovation in the industry. Discuss your hair loss situation with an expert, sympathetic and experienced ear. Use the contact form to get in touch.
You can read more about Ranbir here.