'Alopecia' is the word used to describe any type of baldness/hair loss, on the scalp, or of other hairy regions of the body.
The word 'alopecia' may be coupled with another word to give a specific meaning. For instance: 'alopecia areata' meaning 'hair loss in areas'.
Most hair loss is not a disease but a perfectly normal process of aging and/or hormone change and put aside by many general practitioners because it is 'not life threatening'. However, the fine line between normal and excessive loss of hair causes great concern to many, therefore correct diagnosis and care can alleviate worries during phases of patchy hair loss, diffuse shedding and thinning/balding. Psychological effects are far reaching.
Very often the word alopecia is used to describe either, a 'patchy' loss of hair, as in alopecia areata, or, a 'diffuse' loss of hair, meaning general loss. The two are sometimes seen together and can be related to the same cause or separate conditions.
More often than not, alopecia areata resolves itself. For the cases that do not correct themselves there are therapies. However, applications, injections and electrotherapy can initiate growth but the patient must be aware of the variability of the results, if at all.
A brief History
of Alopecia Areata
As far back as 1760 the term alopecia areata was used and in those early years the condition had been considered to be, and still is in rare cases, related to a fungal or bacterial influence. When endocrinology, a specialism dealing with hormone patterns, came along in the late 19th century, the influence of the thyroid gland was noticed as being very relevant, as we know it is today. But, unfortunately, it is not the whole answer because other systems in the body are also working to balance and counterbalance changing levels. Then came the claims, recognised by many countries, that all alopecia areata could be put down to 'focal sepsis', and here I quote 'usually of the teeth or upper respiratory tract, but occasionally gastrointestinal', and this was said to be the cause in most cases.