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Health Tip: Understanding Alopecia Areata

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

(HealthDay News) -- Alopecia areata is a form of hair loss that's triggered by your immune system mistakenly viewing hair follicles as threats to your health.

This can trigger patchy hair loss on the head, complete hair loss on the head or the loss of body hair, the American Academy of Family Physicians says.

The condition -- for which there is no cure -- is most common among children and adults in their early 20s.

The AAFP says you should ask your doctor:

  • How much hair should I lose before you and I become concerned?
  • I have a parent who had the condition. Is there a genetic test that will determine if I will get it?
  • Do certain diseases or conditions raise a person's risk for developing alopecia areata?

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