Affecting nearly 5 million Americans, alopecia areata is a medical condition in which the hair falls out in patches. It is unpredictable; if you have it, your experience may not be the same as someone else’s. For example, you may have hair loss followed by full regrowth while another person may have only partial regrowth. Or your case may last a few months while someone else’s may last several years. In addition to patchy hair loss, other symptoms of this condition include the widespread hair loss, nail irregularities (e.g., splitting or changes in color, texture, shape), and single strands of hair in or near the bald patch(es).