loss of hair; baldness. The cause of simple baldness is not yet fully understood, although it is known that the tendency to become bald is limited almost entirely to males, runs in certain families, and is more common in certain racial groups than in others. Baldness is often associated with aging, but it can occur in younger men. minoxidil
has been approved as a topical treatment for male pattern baldness. Approximately one-third of the men undergoing this therapy have experienced hair regrowth. The effects of the drug take several months to develop and new hair growth may be limited; the hair is lost if treatment is discontinued. Hair transplants are also available to selected patients. Many men opt for no treatment.
Alopecia as an outcome of chemotherapy for a malignancy can be very distressing. The loss of hair usually is temporary and the hair will grow back after the course of treatment is completed. Male patients may feel more comfortable wearing a hat or cap when out in public. Female patients who wish to wear a wig are encouraged to obtain one that is lightweight and the same color as their hair. Having a hairdresser cut the wig to the patient's usual hair style can increase self-esteem. A kerchief or head scarf can be worn around the house if it is more comfortable than a wig. Receipts for wigs, hairpieces, and other headcovering should be saved; they are tax-deductible medical expenses when related to chemotherapy.
) a progressive, diffuse, symmetric loss of scalp hair. In men it begins in the twenties or early thirties with hair loss from the crown and the frontal and temple regions, ultimately leaving only a sparse peripheral rim of scalp hair (male pattern alopecia
or male pattern baldness)
. In females it begins later, with less severe hair loss in the front area of the scalp. In affected areas, the follicles produce finer and lighter terminal hairs until terminal hair production ceases, with lengthening of the anagen phase and shortening of the telogen phase of hair growth. The cause is unknown but is believed to be a combination of genetic factors and increased response of hair follicles to androgens.
alopecia area´ta hair loss in sharply defined areas, usually the scalp or beard.
alopecia ca´pitis tota´lis loss of all the hair from the scalp.
cicatricial alopecia (alopecia cicatrisa´ta) irreversible loss of hair associated with scarring, usually on the scalp.
congenital alopecia (alopecia congenita´lis) congenital absence of the scalp hair, which may occur alone or be part of a more widespread disorder.
alopecia limina´ris hair loss at the hairline along the front and back edges of the scalp.
moth-eaten alopecia syphilitic alopecia involving the scalp and beard and occurring in small, irregular scattered patches, resulting in a moth-eaten appearance.
symptomatic alopecia (alopecia symptoma´tica) loss of hair due to systemic or psychogenic causes, such as general ill health, infections of the scalp or skin, nervousness, or a specific disease such as typhoid fever, or to stress. The hair may fall out in patches, or there may be diffuse loss of hair instead of complete baldness in one area.
alopecia tota´lis loss of hair from the entire scalp.
alopecia universa´lis loss of hair from the entire body.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.
alopecia (al?o-pe'sh(e-)a ) [Gr. alopekia, fox mange]
Absence or loss of hair, esp. of the head.
Alopecia may result from serious illness, drugs, endocrine disorders, dermatitis, hereditary factors, radiation, or physiological changes during aging.
Treatments include drugs, such as minoxidil or finasteride; surgeries, such as hair transplantation; or prostheses (wigs).
ALOPECIA AREATA OF SCALP
Loss of hair in sharply defined patches usually involving the scalp or beard. See: illustrationillustration
ALOPECIA CAPITIS TOTALIS
alopecia capitis totalis
Complete or near complete loss of hair on the scalp. See: illustrationillustration
Loss of hair due to formation of scar tissue.
Baldness due to absence of hair bulbs at birth.
Baldness due to inflammation of the hair follicles of the scalp.
Loss of hair along the hairline, both front and back, of the scalp.
male-pattern alopeciaMale-pattern baldness.
Loss of hair as a result of medical treatment, esp. treatment with drugs used in chemotherapy for cancer.
Loss of both scalp and body hair accompanied by desquamation of branlike scales.
Loss of hair after prolonged fevers or during the course of a disease. This baldness may be due to systemic or psychogenic factors.
alopecia totalis Alopecia capitis totalis.
Loss of hair thought to be due to toxins of infectious disease.
Loss of hair from the entire body.
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners