There is Nothing Superficial About Alopecia Areata
Is alopecia areata a “superficial” disease? Somehow not worthy of attention or research? Are alopecians supposed to be content with sitting in the corner and receiving little attention? Should they just be happy because it is not fatal? Or should they push back against the notion, and tell the world there is nothing superficial about alopecia areata.
Is something that affects your life intimately, every day, superficial? If someone has arthritis every day, but they can manage it with medication, does that make it superficial? Because some diseases cause more damage, does that make alopecia areata superficial? Is a person’s self image superficial, or an important part of who they are?
One thing you learn quickly when dealing with people affected by disease, is that what affects them is directly relevant to their life experiences. You cannot compare two people, just like you cannot compare two diseases. Is one person’s pain more important than another’s? Is a person with diabetes pain minimized because someone else has cancer?
While the alopecia areata community is unique in some ways, the same issues that abound in the alopecia world are seen in other communities. For years those with fibromyalgia were essentially told they were batty. They were made to feel guilty about asking for attention, so much so that the buzz word in their community was “legitimacy”. But do you know what has changed that? Research!
That’s what Alopecia Areata needs but hasn’t received. Look at these 2012 statistics:
Table data based on current US National Institutes of Health reporting at http://report.nih.gov/categorical_spending.aspx
Another term that gets tied in with superficiality, is the notion that alopecia areata is simply cosmetic, not much different than preferring red lipstick over brown, or rocking a goatee instead of a handlebar moustache. Who defines cosmetic? Is it the editors of fashion magazines, the insurance companies, maybe the large corporations many of us work for?
Or might it be the individual, or the society we live in that decides what is cosmetic. Is having front teeth cosmetic? While the guys at the insurance company may say yes, the society we live in disagrees. Looking at the dictionary, cosmetic brings us right back where we started – used or done superficially to make something look better.
There is nothing superficial about wanting your body to function normally. There is nothing superficial about the desire to have a full head of hair. There is nothing superficial about wanting to make the world a better place for your loved ones.
There are a million reasons to support alopecia areata research. For yourself. For your families. For others. And to top it off, this disease, alopecia areata, is related to a whole bunch of other diseases, with similar immune responses and similar treatments.
A breakthrough in alopecia areata may not just be a breakthrough for aa, it could a breakthrough for ms or lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or crohn’s disease. So you aren’t just helping yourself fight some superficial disease, you are fighting to cure a real disease, and at the same time you are helping to create a greater understanding of a whole family of diseases. There is nothing superficial about that.
Please consider helping GAM reach our goals by donating to alopecia areata research today.Originally published on June 11, 2012