Does Diabetes Cause Hair Loss?

There are many reasons that you might lose hair. There could be things like stress, hormones, or a lack of vitamins or minerals. Diabetes is also one of the reasons. The American Academy of Dermatology says that we lose on average 50-100 hairs that are normal and expected every day.

Excessive hair shedding can happen during times of stress or after pregnancy. This is not the same as hair loss, which happens when something stops the hair from growing. Hair loss can happen in patches and may not go back to normal until the trigger is fixed. For example, diabetes can cause hair loss when blood sugars are outside of a healthy range. Diabetes may also be related to a condition called alopecia areata that also causes hair loss.

hairloss in diabetes

Hair loss can be hard. But you should know that it is not always because of something bad. For example, sometimes, the hair falls out because of diabetes. You need to find out if this is happening and then get treatment for it.

Causes

In diabetes, hair loss may be related to other things like thyroid disease or alopecia areata. Or it may be because of poor circulation, medication side effects, not controlling blood sugar well enough, or having nutrient deficiencies. It’s important to find out which is the cause so you can get the best treatment.

Immune System Disorder

People who have diabetes are more likely to develop other autoimmune disorders. For example, sometimes, people who have diabetes can also have problems with their thyroid. Problems with the thyroid can cause hair loss because disruptions in the thyroid hormones can affect how your hair grows and lead to baldness or thinning hair.

If you have diabetes and think you may have a problem with your thyroid because of weight loss, weight gain, fatigue, or nervousness, tell your doctor about it as soon as possible.

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Another type of autoimmune disease is called alopecia areata. This happens when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, leading to patches of hair loss on the scalp and other parts of the body.

The immune system gets worse because it doesn’t stop attacking. It can cause an attack on some hair follicles, but not all. If you have a small amount of hair loss, then your hair will grow back after a while as long as you don’t lose much more.

Some people may be predisposed to hair loss. For example, it is common in those who have other diseases that cause autoimmune reactions, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, hay fever, atopic dermatitis, thyroid disease, or Down syndrome.

Poor Circulation

Insulin resistance, vascular impairment, and poor circulation are symptoms resulting from chronically high blood sugar. In addition, when people have chronic hyperglycemia, they might have problems with the oxygen and nutrients in their bodies.

They might also have hair loss or thinning or less hair on their head. Insulin resistance could contribute to the lack of blood flow to the small vessels in the skin, which leads to hair loss on your head.

diabetes and hair loss

Researchers found that type 2 diabetes was associated with an increased risk of severe hair loss in Black women. Researchers concluded that people with this type of diabetes should be followed closely to see if they have hair loss. The researchers also said that these people could need treatment for their hair loss, so doctors should check them.

Medication Side Effects

Certain types of medication can cause hair to fall out. This happens when the medicine interrupts the hair cycle. Certain types of cancer treatment, like chemotherapy and radiation, can also cause hair loss. When this happens, the person’s hair will grow back once they stop taking their medication.

Elevated Blood Sugar

When sugar remains in the blood and cannot be taken into cells for energy, it is called hyperglycemia. This can happen because you don’t have enough insulin or you have insulin resistance. If this happens over time, damage to the small and large blood vessels can happen.

For example, if blood vessels in your legs are damaged, then hair follicles below your knees may also be damaged because of a lack of blood flow. This will disrupt the flow of oxygen and nutrients, which affects the hair growth cycle.

Hormonal imbalances can also affect our hair. Stress has been shown to increase cortisol levels in the blood, which causes cells to become resistant to insulin. The cells that should be taking sugar out of the bloodstream instead keep it there, which leads to high blood sugars and can cause hair loss and slow-healing wounds.

Cortisol is a hormone that helps your body. But, over time, too much of it can disrupt the hair follicle, causing you to have hair loss. See if you have androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata, or telogen effluvium.

Symptoms

There are many different types of hair loss. It could fall out in chunks, or it may be very small. This will depend on why the hair is falling out. For example, if you have type 1 diabetes and your hair starts to fall out in patches on your scalp or various parts of the body, you might have alopecia areata. This may happen one time, or it might come back and go away again.

Different types of hair loss can also happen on the scalp or other parts of your body. Doctors need to know how quickly the hair is falling out and where so they can give you an accurate diagnosis.

People with diabetes are at risk for skin-related problems. These can be dry, itchy skin and other types of skin conditions. In addition, when their sugar levels rise, they are also at a higher risk for infections. One type of infection is folliculitis, which is caused by bacteria that affects hair follicles.

Diagnosis

You need a doctor to tell you if you have hair loss. It would help if you answered the questions they ask. They will look at where on your body the hair is lost and how it falls out. Doctors can often tell what is causing your problem by looking for sex-specific patterns in how the hair falls out.

Treatment

Different treatments work for different people. For example, doctors will give you a treatment that helps your hair grow back.

Managing Blood Sugar

If you have diabetes and your blood sugar has been too high, bringing it back down may help hair loss. When your blood sugar is high, you can also get other problems like poor circulation and hormonal issues. You might even not be able to grow hair. So if you have diabetes, try to keep your blood sugar within the normal range.

Diabetes-Care-Plan

Normal blood sugar levels depend on how old you are, if you get hypoglycemia, often if you have diabetes for a long time, and your age. Usually, your blood sugar should be 80-130 mg/dL after fasting for eight hours or more and less than 180 mg/dL two hours after a meal. Talk to your doctor about what is the best number that is right for you.

If you are at your goal blood sugar level and still losing hair, you should contact your doctor. It could be because of a different medical or nutrition reason.

Medication

Certain medicines can help with hair loss. The American Academy of Dermatology lists different types of medicines used to treat hair loss, depending on your age and type of risk for side effects.

Corticosteroid creams and injections: Injections are for adults and not for children. Creams can be used on the patches of adults or children. Injections seem to work better in adults, but creams seem to work better for children.

Rogaine (minoxidil): It helps hair grow and is often used for the scalp, beard, or eyebrows. Rogaine may also be helpful for children. Also, try natural hair growth supplements that support the healthy growth of hair.

Anthralin: It is a type of medicine that can be put on the skin. It is typically used with Minoxidil. This medicine can cause skin irritation.

Diabetes can be hard to manage and keep your blood sugars in the normal range. But things get even harder if you also start losing your hair. But don’t worry, there are ways to make sure that you don’t lose any more hair than is necessary and that it grows back again.

You should see a dietitian or certified diabetes care and education specialist if you have trouble managing your diabetes and keeping your blood sugars at a normal level. These professionals will help you with advice on what to do. And they will make sure that once they help you fix any problems, then there won’t be anything else wrong with how much of your hair is left on the rest of your head!

People with diabetes can protect themselves from diabetes complications by controlling their blood glucose levels. Eating healthy and moving more can help. And certain nutrients, such as zinc, may help you grow hair and lose hair. You should do this if you have a deficiency in that nutrient, but most of the time, adding these nutrients to your diet is enough.

About Mikael Gomez

Mikael is a health nutrition expert and loves mountain biking. Mikael started his health product research journey about 6 years ago and still loves doing it. Apart from spending time on his study, research & literature, he plays basketball regularly and is a fitness freak. Follow me on Linkedin

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