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Mayo Clin Proc. 1995 Jul;70(7):628-33.

Incidence of alopecia areata in Olmsted County, Minnesota, 1975 through 1989.

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1
Section of Clinical Epidemiology, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN 55905, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the incidence and natural history of alopecia areata (AA) among unselected patients from a community.

DESIGN:

We conducted a retrospective population-based descriptive study of AA among residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, for the period from 1975 through 1989.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:

After identifying 292 Olmsted County residents first diagnosed with AA during the 15-year study period, we reviewed their complete (inpatient and outpatient) medical records in the community and statistically analyzed the effects of gender and age-group.

RESULTS:

The overall incidence of AA was 20.2 per 100,000 person-years and did not change with time. Rates were similar in the two genders and over all ages, and lifetime risk was estimated at 1.7%. Eighty-seven percent of patients were examined by a dermatologist who diagnosed AA, and 29% of cases were confirmed by biopsy. Most patients had mild or moderate disease, but alopecia totalis or universalis developed at some point during the clinical course in 21 patients.

CONCLUSION:

This study of the incidence and natural history of AA in a community shows that this disorder is fairly common and can be seen at all ages. Although spontaneous resolution is expected in most patients, a small but significant proportion of cases (probably approximately 7%) may evolve into severe and chronic hair loss, which may be psychosocially devastating for affected persons.

PMID:
7791384
DOI:
10.4065/70.7.628
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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