Hair loss can be devastating. Apart from an individual’s physical appearance it can also have drastic psychological effects. In this era, the signs of baldness are not only limited to people in their early 50s, but hair loss is quite common among teenagers as well. There are incalculable factors that can cause hair loss and one among them is Lupus. Many individuals still wonder, does lupus cause hair loss? Unfortunately, yes. Lupus can cause the hair on your scalp to gradually thin out, although a few people lose clumps of hair. Loss of eyebrow, eyelash, beard and body hair also is possible.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks healthy tissue. This results in symptoms such as swelling, inflammation and damage to joints, skin, hair, kidneys, the heart, blood and lungs.
Under normal functioning, the immune system makes proteins called antibodies in order to protect and fight against antigens such as bacterias and viruses. Lupus makes the immune system unable to differentiate between antigens and healthy tissue. This leads the immune system to direct antibodies against the healthy tissue – not just antigens – causing swelling, pain, and tissue damage.
In most cases, the hair tends to grow back when your lupus is treated. But some people with lupus develop round (discoid) lesions on the scalp. Because these discoid lesions scar your hair follicles, they do cause permanent hair loss.
In lupus hair loss, the scalp hair along your hairline to become fragile and break off easily, leaving you with a ragged appearance known as lupus hair. Hair loss may be an early sign of lupus, before the disease is diagnosed.
If your hair loss is caused by medication, you may have to wait until your lupus is under control to treat the hair loss. This type is “mostly reversible”. Hair loss associated with discoid lesions and scarring is generally permanent, so early treatment is key. In all cases, the most important way to control women’s hair loss is to control disease activity.
Lupus Hair Loss Treatment
1) Understand the type of hair loss.
It is important that you analyze and understand the type of hair loss. For instance, shedding hair from all over the head is common at the onset of lupus. Patchy hair loss is usually associated with a lupus-related scalp rash, such as a discoid rash, that damages hair follicles. Shedding hair loss usually stops, and the hair usually grows back when the disease is brought under control. Patchy hair loss associated with damaged hair follicles is permanent.
2) Get in touch with an expert
Although, no single lupus hair loss treatment works for everyone and trial and error is usually involved in getting lupus under control, managing the disease is critical to stopping any hair loss you are already experiencing and to preventing future hair loss. If you have a scalp rash, the sooner your doctor can treat the rash and prevent it from spreading, the less permanent hair loss you will face. Therefore, it is important that you get in touch with a specialist without much delay.
3) Change your lifestyle choices
Having a healthy lifestyle is important when it comes to managing your lupus and in preventing future flare-ups that could result in hair loss. Professionals recommend getting plenty of rest, exercising and eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. It also recommends using a sunscreen every day and staying out of the sun as much as possible because ultraviolet light has been linked to triggering lupus flares.