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Diagnosing Alopecia Areata - How Can You Be Sure?Information presented by HairLossTalk.com
In order to accurately diagnose alopecia areata, three things are needed: An educated physician, blood tests, and a brief clinical history.
Finding a Doctor for your Alopecia Areata
The American Academy of Dermatology has a Physician Referral Service. There you can type in your city and see a list of dermatologists in your area. Click each name and find the section labeled "Specialties". If Alopecia or Hair Loss is not listed verbatim, read through the rest of their profile and see if it is mentioned. If you are unable to find a specialist in your area, make use of the AAD's more broad Statewide Search. You will be presented with all the registered Dermatologists in your state by City. Some have profiles, some don't, but all have contact information. It is worth the work to print out a list and call them one by one, and inquire as to the physicians experience with Alopecia Areata.
Alopecia Areata - the Diagnostic Blood Tests
There are a series of tests that an educated specialist will have done on you. Without these tests, there is no way for any physician to accurately diagnose your condition. If your physician says these tests are not necessary, or refuses to do them for you, then it is advised that you find another physician to handle your situation. We cannot stress this strongly enough. You need to have these tests done, and you need a qualified specialist to review them, and your scalp, in order to get the care you need. The reason is simple. Cortizone injections or Rogaine may help the problem in the meantime, but if there is an underlying cause, your hair loss will not stop until that has been rectified.
The diagnostic blood tests for Alopecia Areata are as follows:
» DHEAS, Testosterone, Androstenedione, Prolactin, Follicle Stimulating and Leutinizing Hormone
» Serum Iron, Serum Ferritin, TIBC (Total Iron Binding capacity)
» Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
» Complete Blood Count (CBC)
Clinical History for Alopecia Areata
Take a moment and write down the answers to the following questions, and have them prepared for your physician's review. Again, if he or she does not request the answers to these questions, nor seem interested in the paper you've brought in, find another specialist.
» Are you on any medications? If so, what.
» How long has this problem been occurring?
» Is the hair falling out fully intact, or is it breaking?
» Family history of diabetes, asthma, arthritis, lupus, vitiligo, anemia, or Addison's disease?
» Have you recently given birth, or gone through menopause?
Lastly, let's take a look at how Alopecia Areata is treated...