Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can cause many symptoms including hair loss. Losing your hair can be very distressing, but there are ways to deal with the condition, and hair loss may be reversible once the disease is controlled successfully with medications and lifestyle changes.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system (which normally fights foreign threats) becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue instead. It can cause inflammation and pain in any part of the body, but most commonly affects the skin, joints, and internal organs, such as the heart and kidneys. Since it can affect many parts of the body, lupus can cause many different symptoms, such as severe fatigue, rashes, skin lesions, joint pain, chest pain, and headaches. Another common symptom is hair loss.
It is estimated that 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus, and although not everyone with lupus experiences hair loss, they may still experience a gradual thinning of hair along the hairline. Hair that becomes fragile may break more easily and cause the hair strands to be shorter than normal.
Causes Of Hair Loss
Cutaneous lupus only affects the skin and can cause lesions and discoid rashes anywhere on the body, but more commonly on the scalp, neck, hands, and feet. The discoid rashes cause raised, scaly, red, and circular patches on the skin, which in severe cases can turn into lesions. The rashes often become more severe when exposed to sunlight. Scarring can be caused by the lesions, which if they appear on the scalp, can damage skin and hair follicles resulting in permanent hair loss.
Inflammation is a common symptom of systemic lupus and is often widespread. If it develops around the scalp and hair follicles, this can cause hair to become brittle and weak and lead to hair loss. Lupus can also cause eyebrow, beard, and eyelash hair to fall out. This type of hair loss is often due to the hair follicles “resting” during episodes of increased disease activity, which is thought to save energy in the body for more important functions than hair growth. Hair loss due to inflammation is usually reversible if treatment for the disease is successful, and hair usually begins to grow back as systemic lupus is brought under control.
Some lupus medications can also contribute to hair loss. Medications, such as steroids and immunosuppressants, used to suppress the immune system to help treat lupus can make hair brittle and cause it to thin. This side effect is usually only temporary until the condition has been brought under control. It is best to wait to treat hair loss until the medication has controlled lupus successfully.
Treatment For Hair Loss
Whether or not hair loss can be reversed or treated successfully depends primarily on the type of lupus you have and whether there is scarring as well as the severity of the scarring. Certain factors such as stress, nutritional deficiencies, thyroid disorders, and genetics can also contribute to hair loss in people with lupus and may mean hair loss is reversible.
The most effective way to control hair loss is to control disease activity. Certain hair loss treatments may not be suitable or work effectively on some forms of lupus. If you have hair loss or fragile hair as a result of lupus, talk to Dr. Louis M. Iorio today to find out about the different hair restoration options available to help restore and preserve your hair.
Hair Restoration Treatments in New Jersey
If hair loss is getting you down, Iorio Hair Restoration of New Jersey can offer a number of options to restore and preserve your hair, using only safe and proven techniques and products and state-of-the-art technology.
For compassionate care and great results, call us today at (732) 780-9191 for the Colts Neck office, or (732) 458-7400 for the Brick office. You can also request a consultation online.