Alopecia areata is caused by an autoimmune disorder, explains Healthline. When a person has alopecia areata, his body attacks the hair follicles, causing some or all of his hair to fall out. Some scientists believe there is a genetic basis for this condition, but the cause has never been scientifically proven.
Alopecia areata generally causes people who are affected by the condition to lose their hair in small patches in various places, leaving small bald spots on the head. In rare cases, alopecia areata causes total hair loss. The largest symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss in various locations on the scalp in small circular patterns. Before a diagnosis can be made, other diseases and disorders must first be ruled out as there are a variety of conditions that can cause hair loss. Diagnostic procedures include a scalp biopsy and blood work to test for other autoimmune disorders, according to Healthline.
There is no cure for alopecia areata, but the condition can be managed with medication. Some medications aid in stopping hair loss from occurring as frequently and allow less hair to fall out. Other medications can be prescribed to alopecia areata patients to help stimulate hair regrowth, notes Healthline.