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Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
There are many types of alopecia (baldness or hair loss), each with a different cause. Alopecia may be localized to the front and top of the head, as in common male pattern baldness. It may be patchy, as in a condition called alopecia areata. Or it can involve the entire head, as in alopecia capitis totalis (also called alopecia totalis), and it can involve hair loss of the entire body, such as in alopecia universalis. Alopecia can be caused by medications, such as from chemotherapy for cancer. It can also be a result of an underlying disease, such as with an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) and systemic lupus erythematosus. Alopecia may have no symptoms other than the loss of hair, or it can be associated with itching and/or rash of the scalp.
The word alopecia comes from the Greek alopex for "fox." Foxes are less furry when afflicted with a skin disease (the "mange") that causes them to lose their hair. When a fancier word for "baldness" was sought, the mangy fox supplied it -- "alopecia" or, if you wish, "fox-mange" -- not a very positive image to associate with baldness!
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Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.
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In This ArticleAlopecia Areata Article
- Alopecia areata facts
- What is alopecia areata?
- What causes alopecia areata?
- What are the different patterns of alopecia areata?
- Who is affected by alopecia areata?
- How is alopecia areata diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for alopecia areata?
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- Who is at risk for bone cancer?
- What causes bone cancer?
- What are bone cancer symptoms and signs?
- What are the different types of bone cancer?
- What kinds of bone cancer occur in children?
- What tests are used to diagnose bone cancer?
- What is the treatment for bone cancer?
- How is bone cancer pain managed?
- What is the prognosis for bone cancer?
- Can bone cancer be prevented?
In This ArticleChild Abuse Article
- Child abuse facts
- What is child abuse?
- What are the different types of child abuse?
- What are risk factors for child abuse?
- What are symptoms and signs of child abuse?
- How do physicians diagnose child abuse?
- What is the treatment for child abuse?
- What are the complications and prognosis of child abuse?
- Is it possible to prevent child abuse?
- What should people do if they suspect that a child is being abused?
- Where can people find more information about child abuse?
In This ArticleIs Ringworm Contagious? Article
- What is ringworm?
- Is ringworm contagious?
- How will I know if I am infected with ringworm?
- How does ringworm spread?
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- When should I seek medical care for a ringworm infection?
In This ArticleLichen Planus Article
- Lichen planus facts
- What is lichen planus?
- What causes lichen planus?
- How is the rash of lichen planus different from that of most other common rashes?
- What are lichen planus symptoms and signs?
- What does lichen planus look like?
- How is lichen planus diagnosed?
- Are there home remedies for lichen planus?
- What is the treatment for lichen planus?
- What is the long-term prognosis of lichen planus?
In This ArticleLupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE) Article
- Systemic lupus erythematosus facts
- What is systemic lupus erythematosus? What are the types of lupus?
- What are risk factors and causes of systemic lupus erythematosus? Is lupus contagious? Is lupus hereditary?
- What is drug-induced lupus?
- What are lupus symptoms and signs?
- How is systemic lupus erythematosus diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for systemic lupus?
- Is there a systemic lupus erythematosus diet?
- How can a lupus patient help prevent disease activity (flares)?
- How can systemic lupus erythematosus affect pregnancy or the newborn?
- What specialties of doctors treat lupus?
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- Where can one get more information about systemic lupus erythematosus?
In This ArticlePeripheral Vascular Disease Article
- Peripheral vascular disease facts
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- What are potential complications of peripheral artery disease?
- What are the other causes of peripheral vascular diseases?
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- Lifestyle changes
- Supervised exercise
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In This ArticleScalp Psoriasis Article
- What is scalp psoriasis?
- What is the cause of scalp psoriasis?
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- How is scalp psoriasis diagnosed?
- What are topical treatments and home remedies for scalp psoriasis?
- What are office treatments for scalp psoriasis?
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In This ArticleSteroid Abuse Article
- Anabolic steroid abuse facts
- What are anabolic steroids?
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- How do people abuse anabolic steroids?
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- What are the psychological and physical side effects of anabolic steroid abuse?
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- What is the treatment for anabolic steroid abuse and addiction?
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In This ArticleThyroid Cancer Article
- Thyroid cancer facts*
- What is the thyroid?
- What is cancer?
- What are the different types of thyroid cancer?
- Thyroid cancer symptoms*
- How is thyroid cancer diagnosed?
- How is staging determined for thyroid cancer?
- What is the treatment for thyroid cancer?
- Thyroid hormone treatment
- Radioactive iodine therapy
- External radiation therapy
- Second opinion
- Follow-up care
- Sources of support
- Taking part in cancer research
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