Integumentary System Disorder

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Integumentary System Disorder

Alopecia areata is a disease that affects the integumentary system.1 It is a disease that affects the hair follicles, which are part of the skin from which hairs grow. 1 In most cases, hair falls out in small, round patches about the size of a quarter.2 Many people with the disease get only a few bare patches. Some people may lose more hair.2 Rarely, the disease causes total loss of hair on the head or complete loss of hair on the head, face, and body.2 Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease.2 Normally the immune system protects the body against infection and disease.2 In an autoimmune disease, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks some part of your own body.1 In alopecia areata, the immune system attacks the hair follicles.1 The cause is not known. Scientists think that a person's genes may play a role.2 For people whose genes put them at risk for the disease, some type of trigger starts the attack on the hair follicles.1 The triggers may be a virus or something in the person's environment.1 There is no known cure for alopecia areata.2 There are no drugs approved to treat it.2 Doctors may use medicines approved for other diseases to help hair grow back.2 Alopecia areata does not make you feel pain and does not make you feel sick.1 You can't give it to others.1 People who have the disease are usually healthy in every other way.1 Alopecia areata will not shorten your life, and it should not affect any of your daily or life activities.1 Researchers are seeking a better understanding of the disease.2 Not much is known about the disease process.2 Scientists are currently studying genes, hair follicle development, immune treatments, environmental factors, stem cells in the skin, and medications.2

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alopecia_areata
2. http://www.aarda.org/patient_information.php
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