Living Powered With Alopecia – Black health is important

Alopecia areata, or alopecia, is a condition that occurs when the immune system attacks the hair follicles. This causes swelling and leads to hair loss. The most common type of alopecia areata (alopecia areata) results in small patches of hair loss. Other types of alopecia can cause loss of larger areas of hair on the scalp (alopecia totalis) and, in rare but severe cases, complete loss of hair on the head and other parts of the body (alopecia universalis). As long as the immune system attacks the follicles, the hair will not grow back. There is no cure for this condition, but hair can regrow in the affected areas.

According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, about 700,000 Americans have some form of alopecia areata. Alopecia can affect people of all ages. African Americans are more likely to be affected, and women are more likely to have the condition than men. In addition to the physical impact of living with this condition, sufferers can also face great mental challenges. Alopecia areata patients are at greater risk for developing depression, anxiety, and other autoimmune conditions.

Alopecia and black hair

Black hair is significantly different from other ethnic groups, and its unique characteristics allow black women in particular to create versatile hairstyles. Unfortunately, many of these popular hairstyles can be harmful and damage the hair and scalp if not properly installed and maintained. Science indicates that black hair texture is more likely to be damaged from breakage than other ethnic groups. This is due to the chemical composition of black hair, which tends to be drier and more brittle due to its coiled structure.

The impact on the black community

It is important to distinguish between alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune condition, and traction alopecia, which is preventable but also common in black women. Traction alopecia is caused by long-term use of hairstyles such as braids, dreadlocks, extensions, and weaves that put tension on the hair and lead to hair loss. Most of the risks associated with this type of hair loss apply to individuals with weakened or chemically treated hair, but those with natural hair can also be affected.

How can you live strong with alopecia?

You might think that there can be no strength in hair loss, but living with strength takes courage. Living with alopecia can be difficult, but you can live with strength by taking proactive steps to become stronger and more confident in understanding the condition and helping others do the same.

Be proactive

Although hair loss may be genetic and out of your control, you can prevent or slow down further hair loss by eating a balanced diet and avoiding excessive stress. Addressing other health-promoting conditions, such as anemia, low vitamin D levels, and abnormal thyroid levels, can also contribute to hair loss. Make sure protective styles like braids and buns are loose and not kept in the hair for long. Avoid chemical treatments or have them done by a professional and minimize heat styling.

Find support

You may find it easier to cope with your diagnosis by connecting with others who are dealing with the same thing. Click here to find an alopecia support group near you.
Adults with alopecia are more than 30% more likely to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety. If necessary, seek help from a mental health professional.

Participate in a clinical trial

African Americans are underrepresented in clinical trials.7 Clinical trials allow researchers to contribute to improving the quality of care and identifying and exploring better treatment options. Alopecia clinical trials can help researchers learn more about the condition, including understanding how to measure the severity of the disease and what causes the disease. Increased participation of African Americans in clinical trials for alopecia may help researchers study the causes of the disease, potentially develop more effective treatments, and evaluate the safety and efficacy of long-term treatment options.

Interested in learning more about participating in a clinical trial? Click here for more information on participating in a Bristol Myers Squibb clinical trial and visit BMS Study Connect to determine if you are eligible to participate in a BMS alopecia clinical trial.

This article was created in association with and is funded by Bristol Myers Squibb.


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