Recent events in Hollywood have made us aware of two conditions that many may not have not known about or known very little about.
After a joke made by Chris Rock got him a smack from Will Smith at the Oscars, the spotlight was put on a condition that’s plagued Jada Pinkett Smith - alopecia areata. Shortly after that, Bruce Willis announced that he will take a break from acting after he was diagnosed with aphasia.
But what are are these conditions, how does they affect people and what can be done?
Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune disorder that often results in unpredictable hair loss.
In the majority of cases, hair falls out in small patches around the size of a coin. For most people, the hair loss is nothing more than a few patches, but in some cases it can be more extreme with some experiencing a complete loss of hair on the scalp (which is called alopecia totalis).
In extreme cases, the entire body is affected (alopecia universalis).
There is currently no cure for alopecia areata.
The most common treatment for alopecia areata is the use of corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can suppress the immune system.
Aphasia is a condition that affects your ability to communicate and can affect your speech. It also affects the way you write and understand both spoken and written language.
Aphasia usually occurs suddenly after a stroke or a head injury, but it can also come on gradually from a brain tumour or a disease that causes progressive, permanent damage.
Like alopecia, aphasia does not have a specific cure but there is a way to treat it.
The main treatment for aphasia is speech and language therapy. This entails the person to relearn and practice language skills as well as learning other ways to communicate.