Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. This type of disease develops when your immune system mistakes a part of your body as foreign and attacks. If you have alopecia areata, your immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles. If you see spotty hair loss, it means your immune system has attacked hair follicles. Hair loss can appear on any part of your body that grows hair. Some people remember experiencing extreme stress or crisis before seeing the patchy hair loss and although this is not the cause of alopecia it may intensify the effects. People with psoriasis, thyroid or vitiligo have a higher risk of getting alopecia areata as they are prone to autoimmune disorders. If you feel you are suffering hair loss in small patchy patterns it would be advisable to see a dermatologist for a diagnosis.