Hair and nail disease

Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss, and is the end result of a number of conditions that may affect the scalp. Medical studies confirm that alopecia causes a significant effect on quality of life. Individuals with alopecia may even be at risk for cardiovascular or other systemic diseases. While alopecia may be the result of a simple fungal infection or hereditary hormonal factors, it may also result from measurable systemic immune system irregularities. For many diseases affecting the scalp, once hair is lost it may be irreversibly scarred. Early accurate diagnosis and treatment is essential to prevent on-going permanent hair loss.

Diagnosis can on many occasions be made by a careful clinical examination alone. Sometimes biopsies of the scalp are required for more detailed differentiation of similar appearing conditions. Blood tests are considered on a case by case basis and are used to assess iron stores, thyroid function and for the presence of circulating harmful antibodies. Once a diagnosis is made an individualised treatment plan can be designed to bring the condition under control.

Dermatologists are best placed to provide comprehensive alopecia management. Receiving an early opinion on hair loss is critical to achieve the best possible outcome.