How Does Alopecia Impact Health Related Quality of Life?

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More than half of patients had some association between alopecia and health-related quality of life

HealthDay News — Frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA) is negatively linked to health-related quality of life (HRQOL), according to a research letter published online March 7 in JAMA Dermatology.

David Saceda-Corralo, MD, PhD, from Ramon y Cajal University Hospital in Madrid, and colleagues used three tools (the Dermatology Life Quality Index [DLQI], the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale [HADS], and the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire [IPQ-R]) to examine dermatology-specific HRQOL, anxiety and depression, and perception of disease among 82 female patients with FFA. 

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The researchers found that there was a slight association between alopecia and HRQOL on the DLQI; 58.5% of patients had some degree of association with their HRQOL, which was severe in 4.9%. The mean level of psychological distress measured by HADS was low, but 18.8 and 6.3% of the patients had symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety and depression symptoms, respectively. Based on IPQ-R questionnaire scores, patients perceived FFA as a chronic disease with an unpredictable course. They felt that alopecia had significant consequences on their lives. Stress, altered immunity, aging, and bad luck were the most common perceived causes of the disease. There were correlations for rates of DLQI, HADS, and IPQ-R with demographic and clinical variables, including higher impairment of HRQOL with trichodynia presentation.

“Our study shows that FFA may be negatively associated with HRQOL and induce psychological distress,” the authors write.

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