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Study evaluates features of alopecia areata in Hispanic/Latinx patients


 

FROM THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF DERMATOLOGY

Among Hispanic/Latinx patients with alopecia areata, the mean age at diagnosis was 33 years, 24% had concomitant atopy, and 18% had one or more coexisting autoimmune conditions, most commonly rheumatoid arthritis.

Those are among key findings from a retrospective analysis of Hispanic/Latinx patients at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) by Natasha Mesinkovska, MD, PhD, of UCI’s department of dermatology, and her coauthors. The findings were published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

A recent study examined the epidemiology of alopecia areata (AA) in Black patients, wrote Dr. Mesinkovska and coauthors Celine Phong, a UCI medical student, and Amy J. McMichael, MD, professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C. “A similar unmet need exists to describe the characteristics of AA in Hispanic/Latinx (H/L) patients, the prevalent majority in California,” they added.

Drawing from chart reviews, ICD codes, and documented physical exams, they retrospectively identified 197 Hispanic/Latinx patients diagnosed with AA at UCI between 2015 and 2022, including alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis.

Nearly two-thirds of patients with alopecia were female (63%), and their mean age at diagnosis was 33 years. Most patients (79%) presented with patchy pattern AA, 13% had diffuse pattern AA, and only 12% had eyebrow, eyelash, or beard involvement. The most common comorbidity in patients overall was atopy (24%), including allergic rhinitis (12%), asthma (10%), and/or atopic dermatitis (7%).

The authors found that 18% of patients had one or more coexisting autoimmune conditions, most commonly rheumatoid arthritis (9%) and thyroid disease (6%). No patients had celiac disease, myasthenia gravis, or inflammatory bowel disease, but 43% had another dermatologic condition.

In other findings, 22% of patients had vitamin D deficiency, 20% had hyperlipidemia, 18% had obesity, 16% had gastroesophageal reflux disease, and 12% had anemia. At the same time, depression, anxiety, or sleep disorders were identified in 14% of patients.

“Interestingly, the most common autoimmune comorbidity in H/L was rheumatoid arthritis, compared to thyroid disease in Black patients and overall AA patients,” the authors wrote. “This finding may be a reflection of a larger trend, as rheumatoid arthritis in the H/L population has been on the rise.”

The authors acknowledged certain limitations of the study including its small sample size and lack of a control group, and reported having no financial disclosures.

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