Calls for more support for people with alopecia in Wales

A charity is calling for more support for people with alopecia areata in Wales.

The condition involves hair loss, which is mainly on the scalp.

20%-of people with alopecia areata will have a family member with the condition, says Alopecia UK.

Alopecia UK said more funding is needed for studies to determine the prevalence rate of alopecia in Wales and across the UK.

The charity said statistics would help understand just how many people are affected and need support.

Angie Jones

Angie Jones is a graphic designer from Anglesey.

The 27-year-old has had alopecia since she was nine.

Angie covered up her bald patches for years but as they started to grow larger she found them harder to conceal.

Earlier this year, Angie returned home from travelling in New Zealand. She decided it was now time to embrace her condition and to start telling more people about it. She also decided to shave her head.

Angie Jones

I feel so much better after shaving it off, I feel a lot more relaxed that people know. I personally feel that my hair has started to grow back a little bit more, maybe because I am relaxed. I think because alopecia is sometimes linked to stress. I’ve always been a little bit worried maybe that my hair would all fall out.

– ANGIE JONES

The Welsh Government said it does not currently have figures for the number of people with alopecia in Wales.

We recognise any type of hair loss can be distressing. In the first instance, GPs will assess the circumstances of the individual and provide where appropriate, medication or access to support services. NHS Wales provides wigs to patients who have suffered chronic hair loss through conditions such as alopecia or as the result of trauma or treatments such as chemotherapy.

– WELSH GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON

Angie has learned to live with her alopecia and has this message for those living with the condition.

Embrace it really, that’s all you can do. I think telling people and getting it out there maybe makes it easier rather than you’re trying to hide something. Look for the support, join groups on Facebook, there’s some really good groups out there. And yeah, just embrace it.

– ANGIE JONES

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