Life With Alopecia Areata

I was first diagnosed with Alopecia Areata Ophiasis at the age of 19. Since then I have had multiple periods of hair loss requiring various regimes of treatment including oral steroid therapy, intralesional steroid injections, topical steroid lotions and immunosuppressant therapies.

Alopecia Areata  is caused by an abnormality in the immune system. This particular abnormality leads to autoimmunity, a misguided immune system that tends to attack its own body. As a result, the immune system attacks particular tissues of the body. In alopecia areata, for unknown reasons, the body's own immune system attacks the hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation. There is no cure for Alopecia and limited insight into treatment modalities.

I find myself extremely embarrassed about my condition. I lack confidence in social situations and despite my best efforts to conceal my bald spots, I am no longer able to and have resorted to wearing hats and head scarves. Despite having extremely supportive friends and family,  I do not feel comfortable exposing the limited hair I have and have become increasingly self conscious and as a result have withdrawn myself from many of my usual activities.

My current episode of Alopecia commenced in March 2016 and has progressed quite rapidly and is not responding to treatments. Throughout the past year I have undergone courses of high dosage oral steriods, multiple intralesional injections into my scalp, and topical application of high dose steroidal lotions. I am currently on immunosuppressant therapy which impacts on my work and social involvement due to the negative side affects of the medication. Therefore, I have made the extremely difficult decision to abandon current treatment and let the disease run its natural course.

I believe the purchase of a medical grade wig will help improve my quality of life and involvement in social situations as the prospect of being bald at such a young age is terrifying. However, they are extremely expensive to purchase and both health insurance funds and the government provide minimal monetary support. I am therefore seeking any donations to assist with the purchase of a wig and a charitable donation towards the National Alopecia Areata Foundation to help fund research  for what is still a very unknown condition.

I thankyou in advance for your support and hope that one day with medical advances and research a cure and better treatment options can be available for all that suffer from Alopecia Areata.
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Carley Manhire 
Prahran VIC

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