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The word “alopecia” is simply put, the medical terminology for “hair loss”. Alopecia does not refer to one specific hair loss disease but rather any form of hair loss is an alopecia. The word alopecia has its origin from Latin, but can be traced back to the Greek word “alopekia,” which itself comes from alopek, meaning “fox.” Literally translated, the word alopecia (alopekia) is the term for mange in foxes, Sarcoptic mange is the name for the skin disease caused by infection with the Sarcoptes scabei mite.

Hair loss can be caused by any number of conditions and is considered multifactorial at many levels, it is usually reflected in a specific diagnosis. Some diagnoses have “alopecia” in their title, such as alopecia areata or scarring alopecia, but many do not, such as telogen effluvium.

Alopecia can be caused by many factors from genetics to the environment, to hormonal, to dietary etc. While androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness, AGA for short) is by far the most common form of hair loss, dermatologists also see many people with other forms of alopecia. “Although the precise prevalence of AGA is unknown and difficult to establish, it has been estimated to affect approx. around 50% of White men by the age of 50 and as many as 90% in their lifetime. It is considered to affect about 50% of White women in their lifetime 2–4. Although prevalence increases with age in all populations, thinning can begin as early as puberty.”(1) Several hundred diseases, and even side effects from some medication, and something as common as stress, have hair loss as a primary symptom.

Probably the most common non-AGA alopecias a dermatologist will see are telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, ringworm, scarring alopecia, and hair loss due to cosmetic overprocessing, traction alopecia, post-partum, stress related etc. Other, more rare forms of hair loss may be even more difficult to diagnose, and some patients may wait months, if not years for a correct diagnosis to be made and finally to undergo consultation with numerous dermatologists and other physicians until they find one with knowledge of their condition. In addition, with rare diseases, there is little motivation for research to be conducted and for treatments to be developed. In some ocasions, even once a correct diagnosis is made, a physician can offer no known treatment for the condition.

Even though research into hair biology and hair diseases is a very small field, and even research on a specific topic like androgenetic alopecia is quite limited, we are part of that small group that furthers investigation in this field on a daily basis. Our Physicians are part of the International Hair Restoration Society and have over 48 years experience. Perhaps 20 years ago there were fewer than 100 people worldwide who studied hair research in a major way. In recent years, there may be five times as many. Dr. Puig is one of the founders of this association, and dedicates his work to share with other, benefiting his patients and fellow physicians. Eventually, this should lead to a better understanding and more help for those with rare alopecias.

Man before and after hair loss treatment on white background

So if you suffer from Alopecia, and are in need of medical attention, we can offer medical consultations, and surgical solutions to this issue. Feel free to call to our offices at (312) 854 3899, or email us at info@ihiclinic.com to schedule a completely free consultation to get the expert opinion you need.

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