PURPOSE: Alopecia areata (AA) is a common disorder of patchy hair loss which carries a substantial psychological burden for patients. The current understanding of AA prevalence, disease course and burden is limited, and further research is needed to improve patient care. This prospective cohort of AA patients within the Danish Skin Cohort was established to provide data that can serve as a tool in future studies of for example, AA epidemiology and disease burden.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1494 patients with dermatologist-verified AA were included in the cohort. Patients were invited and included through electronic or phone-based questionnaires. Information regarding demographics, biometrics, lifestyle factors, skin type, AA onset and development, health-related quality of life and self-reported severity assessment was collected.
FINDINGS TO DATE: The mean (SD) age of AA onset was 32.7 (17.6) years. The mean body mass index and history of cigarette smoking was comparable with the general population. The majority (92.5%) of participants were Caucasian. In total, 72.4% of patients received their diagnosis by a physician within a year after onset of symptoms, and 66.9% reported to still have symptoms of AA within the past year. A total of 12% reported to have a first-degree family member with AA. In total, 31.4% of patients were missing all or nearly all hairs on their scalp, 32.2% had no or barely no eyelashes and 36.2% had no or barely no eyebrow hairs. Overall, most patients (55.7%) did not experience irritated eyes, but 30% reported slight eye irritation and 47.2% reported no damage to finger nails or toenails.
FUTURE PLANS: Observational studies regarding comorbidities, psychosocial burden of AA and efficacy of pharmacological interventions will be carried out and additional data will be linked from nationwide registries of routinely collected data. Furthermore, follow-up survey data will be added for longitudinal analyses.