This Is Us - MORE About Deja’s Disease Alopecia Areata

This week on This Is Us the fans got to know all about Deja’s disease Alopecia Areata. Of course, this made fans curious to know more details about it.

Deja has joined the Pearson family as a foster child, but she was refusing to wash her hair. After getting teased about it, Deja decided to let Beth comb through her hair and it turns out that she has several bald spots that need to be dealt with and this is because she suffers from Alopecia Areata. A lot of people, including myself, knew nothing about this disease at all.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, hair often grows back but may fall out again. Sometimes the hair loss lasts for many years. Alopecia is not contagious. It is not due to nerves. What happens is that the immune system attacks the hair follicles (structures that contain the roots of the hair), causing hair loss. This disease most often occurs in otherwise healthy people.

It normally happens in people under the age of 20, so Deja is the right age to deal with this disease.

Deja actually had spots that were totally bald, but sometimes people will just suffer from their hair becoming thinner. In rare cases, you can also lose body hair according to Web MD. The hair usually grows back within a few months and in very rare cases then it ends up never growing back. Lucky for Deja, Beth knows some about this because her sister suffers from the same thing sometimes and it looks like she has the support she needs. They talked on the show about how stress can make it worse.

What causes it?

Who gets alopecia areata?

People can have this type of hair loss at any age. It often begins in childhood. Some patients with alopecia areata have a family member who also has the disease.

What causes alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune means that the body's immune system attacks the body. When alopecia areata develops, the body attacks its own hair follicles. A person's genetic makeup, combined with other factors, triggers this form of hair loss.

People with alopecia areata may have a higher risk for:

  • Another autoimmune disease such as thyroid disease or vitiligo (patches of lighter skin appear)
  • Asthma and allergies, mainly atopic dermatitis (more commonly called eczema) and hay fever (nasal allergies)
  • Having relatives who have asthma, allergies, or an autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes

Celebrities Who Have Had Alopecia Areata

Viola Davis

This ground-breaking, award-winning actress and Hollywood A-lister confessed to frequently wearing wigs on the red carpet to hide her patchy hair loss caused by alopecia areata. Now, her hair has regrown and she has graced the cover of high profile magazines, wearing her natural hair – no wigs or extensions. It didn't appear to hurt her career as she is the main star in "How to Get Away With Murder"

Jesy Nelson – Singer, Little Mix

The former X Factor contestant explained to the Little Mix website, “I was probably about 13 when my hair just started coming out. Stress can cause alopecia and it wasn’t nice. I got picked on because I’ve always liked to dress differently“. Now it has regrown, the pop star says she loves having ‘big hair’, adding, “I’ve never really wanted to fit in with everyone else. I like being individual. I think it’s cool.”

Christopher Reeve 

Forever famous for his role in the original Superman films, movie star Christopher Reeve revealed in his autobiography that he had alopecia areata at age 16. Combing his hair over the bald spots in an attempt to disguise them, he is thought to have had steroid injections every three months whilst filming Superman in 1978 in an attempt to regrow his hair.

 Neve Campbell 

The Scream and Party Of Five actress also blames stress for her condition. In her case she believes the incredible stress of a crazy workload whilst going through a divorce and dealing with anxiety caused by stalkers triggered her autoimmune hair loss.

Related resources:

Alopecia World

Offers social networking with links to many groups.

Bald Girls Do Lunch (blog)

Written by a woman who has AA, includes tips, research news, and more.

National Alopecia Areata Foundation

Offers message boards, support groups, and pen pal program.

Hold in there Deja. We know you lost it a little with the stress, but other people have been through what you have and others have got through it.

I look forward to seeing how the writers deal with this.

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