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Noticed patch of hair missing from arms, elbows and legs. Father had alopecia. What does it indicate?

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General & Family Physician
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Im 19 years old male, i noticed about 2 weeks ago, im missing hair on my right arm, it almost looks like its been shaved? it also looks a bit thinner. Around a week later i noticed it on my other arm near my elbow, and there is also a patch the same way on my right leg, and a bit on my left (not too noticeable) what can this be caused by? my father does have alopecia, could that be this ?
Posted Mon, 20 May 2013 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta 3 hours later
Thanks for the query.
Your history suggests that you may be suffering from alopecia areata although most of the times it affects scalp first but patchy hairloss can affect other parts of body also.
It is a problem which generally affects children and young adults.
Alopecia areata  occurs more frequently in people who have affected family members, suggesting heredity may be a factor and is thought to be an autoimmune disorder in which body attacks it's own hair follicles and affects the growth of hair.
Sometimes such type of hair loss can be caused by some underlying medical conditions like iron deficiency,some anemia,diabetes,overactive or underactive thyroid,or some protein deficiency in body.
Treatment would depend upon the the cause found but if it is due to ALOPECIA AREATA ,then most of the times no treatment is offered as hair tend to grow back in next few months.
For the proper diagnosis,you must consult a dermatologist who may then investigate and treat you according to the cause found.
I hope it helps however you may revert to me for any further query.
Best of luck
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