Does Diabetes Cause Hair Loss
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Diabetes can cause a range of symptoms and health issues, including hair loss. However, good blood sugar control may help reverse the effects of hair loss.
Hair loss is a natural part of the hairs life cycle. As hair reaches the final stage of the cycle, it will fall out. A new hair will typically grow from the same hair follicle to replace it. At times though, a new hair may fail to form. If there are large areas of the scalp in which new hairs do not appear, this hair loss can be noticeable.
In this article, we discuss how diabetes can affect the hair and explain the treatment options for hair loss. We also cover other effects that diabetes can have on a persons body.
Diabetes can cause hair thinning and hair loss in some people as it can have the following effects on the growth cycle of the hair:
- impairing hair growth
- causing more hair to grow than normal
- stopping new hair from forming
Several different factors may cause a person with diabetes to lose hair, but the most common causes include those below.
Treating Hair Loss In People With Diabetes
With accurate diagnosis and early treatment, hair loss can be both prevented and treated. The following are some options for treating hair loss in people with diabetes.
The doctor may recommend these options depending on the severity of the condition, other health-related factors, and personal preferences.
- Topical Medication
Minoxidil is a commonly prescribed FDA-approved over-the-counter treatment for hair loss . It affects the follicular cells and promotes hair growth and minimizes hair loss. However, the medication is not a permanent solution for hair loss and may need to be used on an ongoing basis for achieving continued results.
- HbA1c And Blood Sugar Management
Managing blood sugar levels is another effective way to reverse or stop hair loss due to diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, adults with diabetes should aim to keep their A1C at less than 7% . This will improve your overall health and lower the risk of hair loss.
If your body does not get enough nutrition, it may affect its functions, including hair health. A blood test can reveal any such nutritional deficiencies. The doctor may suggest taking supplements for iron, biotin, zinc, and folic acid deficiencies. These are widely recommended for promoting hair growth.
They may also suggest cosmetic, surgical, and other treatment options to minimize hair loss.
More About Insulin Resistance And Pre
When insulin levels in the body remain sufficiently high over an extended period of time, the bodys sensitivity to the hormone begins to decline. This is called insulin resistance.
A difficult condition to reverse, insulin resistance causes symptoms that include high blood pressure, lethargy and hunger. Its a vicious circle, because the increased insulin levels and weight gain make the insulin resistance even worse.
Eventually it can develop into pre-diabetes, which doctors can identify by increased glucose levels in the blood.
Research supports the fact that women with insulin resistance are at risk of hair loss so its certainly worth discussing this possibility with your doctor if your hair loss is unexplained.
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The Signs And Symptoms Of Diabetes Are Often Mistaken Or Overlooked So Its Important To Be Aware Of Them
Signs & symptoms of diabetes include a broad range of things from unexplained body weight fluctuations, to fatigue, to hair loss. A sign of diabetes is something measurable that your doctor can objectively observe. A symptom of diabetes is something you experience that is subjective. Many of the early symptoms of diabetes often donât present until diabetes is far along. This is why it is super important to go to regular yearly doctor appointments and pay attention to anything you may be feeling that seems out of the ordinary or unexplained.
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Medication That Lowers Blood Glucose May Increase Your Chance Of Losing Hair
Metformin, one of the most widely used medications for blood sugar control, can indirectly cause hair loss by preventing the absorption of vitamin B12 in the gut.
If you take metformin, speak with your provider about alternatives, or ask your doctor about dietary interventions that may enable you to take a smaller dose.
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Can Diabetes Affect Your Hair
Did you recently get diagnosed with diabetes? Have you noticed more and more hairs on your brush? Or perhaps youve been living with diabetes for a long time, but its still worth considering whether the disease could be contributing to your hair loss.
Hair loss falls into three categories: alopecia androgenetica, alopecia areata, and telogen effluvium.
Alopecia androgenetica is characterized by male pattern baldness, and it can happen to box sexes due to hormone changes. Alopecia areata develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, and telogen effluvium is hair loss that occurs as a response to stress.
We asked our board-certified hair transplant specialist, , to explain how Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can influence your hair, and what treatments are available for diabetes-induced hair loss.
How Diabetes Affects Hair Loss
The hair follows a growth cycle that involves growth , transition , rest , and shedding . On average, hair grows at a rate of 1 to 2 centimeters every month. It then goes into a resting phase for about 100 days. Some of these hair on rest fall out shortly after.
Having diabetes disrupts this growth cycle. The hair regrowth becomes slower and more hairs are shed. Those with the disease could also lose hairs on their arms, legs, and other body parts.
Other factors may cause a person with diabetes to lose hair. These include:
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The Hair Growth Cycle
Hair growth takes place in a cyclical model that has three stages: growth phase , regression phase and resting phase .
The exogen phase refers to the hair shedding and does not occur during every cycle. The kenogen phase refers to a brief interval in which the hair follicle remains empty after the hair loss.
During kenogen, the hair follicle rests, but duration and frequency are greater in AGApossibly accounting for baldness.
In addition to the classic hair growth cycle, the hair follicle may follow an alternative route during which the telogen phase ends with leaving the follicle empty.
Hair Loss & Diabetes: How Are They Related
Diabetes is a condition that plagues our modern society due to frequent stress, sedentary lifestyles, and poor diets. But is this disease linked to hair loss?
People who have type 2 diabetes often have issues with the blood vessels, the organs of the body, and the circulatory system. This can prevent sufficient amounts of oxygen and nutrients from reaching the extremities of the body, including the scalp. If this is the case, it is possible for there to be issues with hair growth.
- And more
The circulation issues, as well as the hormonal issues that often come along with this condition, can result in hair loss and balding. Because diabetes damages blood cells, regenerating hair follicles becomes a much slower and much less reliable process.
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Understanding The Role Of Insulin
Insulin is a hormone that the body produces in order to utilize carbohydrates.
Sugars from the foods you eat go to the bloodstream and insulin moves those sugars from the bloodstream to the cells, where they are either stored or used as energy.
People with diabetes either dont produce this vital insulin, their bodies dont use it properly, or both.
The result is that sugar can build up in the blood, causing multiple problems.
- The sugar can damage the bodys organs, such as the kidneys, nerves and eyes.
- The sugar can damage the blood vessels, preventing them from delivering enough oxygen to nourish the bodys tissues and organs.
There are two different kinds of diabetes Type 1 and Type 2.
How Do You Prevent Hair Loss Caused By Diabetes
You can prevent hair loss from diabetes by staying on top of your health and wellness for long term function and well-being.
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How To Lower Blood Sugar
If you do notice any of the early signs of high blood sugar, its important to have your blood sugar tested by a GP.
If diagnosed with the condition, the following changes could be recommended:
Drink more water as it helps remove excess sugar from the blood through urine and it helps to avoid dehydration.
Exercise more as working out can help lower a persons blood sugar levels.
High Blood Glucose Levels
Just like the rest of our body, high blood sugar levels can impact the health of your hair follicles, too. High blood sugar levels damage small blood vessels, explained Dr. Raman K. Madan, dermatologist at Northwell Healths Hunting Hospital in New York.
This damage to the blood vessels leads to less oxygen and fewer nutrients reaching the hair follicles which can cause hair to become thinner, Dr. Madan told DiabetesStrong.
Those damaged blood vessels can also cause your hair to lose its luster, appearing more brittle and dried out because it isnt getting the nutrients from your bloodstream that it needs.
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What Are The Signs Of Abnormal Hair Growth
All humans have different types of hair follicles on the body. However, the hair growth in males and females is unique.
Following are the three main types of hair follicles found in women:
- Head & genitals: These hair cells produce coarse, dark and thick hair in a dense manner.
- Limbs: The follicles on arms or legs promote sparse growth of soft, light, and thin hair.
- Torso: This type facilitates short hair growth on the chest, abdomen, and back region.
We shed about 100 to 150 hairs every day, which is completely normal.
So dont freak out over losing a few strands.
What you DO need to look out for is sudden dramatic hair loss were talking a whole bunch of hair falling out for no apparent reason!
This usually leaves small bald spots or noticeable patches with little to no hair on the top of the head.
Diabetes hair loss is perhaps the most common reason behind abnormal or patchy hair growth in your body.
You may also observe visible thinning in the parting region. Many people may suffer hairless patches on other body parts too, such as legs, arms, and face, including eyelashes and eyebrows.
Bottomline, you might want to note how often and how much hair youve lost to determine whether its serious or not.
Only then you can figure out whether it has something to do with diabetes and hair loss.
Can Diabetes Make My Hair Fall Out
While we all lose a little hair every single day, finding large quantities of hair on your pillow, hairbrush or in the shower, could be a signal that youre losing more than average. Diabetes may be the culprit for your hair loss, especially if your blood sugar levels are off track. Heres a look at the connection between diabetes and hair loss, and what you can do about it.
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What To Do About Hair Loss
While hair loss can affect your self-confidence and self-image, experts urge people not to be embarrassed or try to handle it on their own. Instead, reach out to a health professional. A primary care doctor or dermatologist can rule out other causes like medications, a lack of nutrients, or hormone imbalances, and they can track your daily sleep, exercise, and nutrition habits to see if improvements in those areas could help.
Hogan says you can also talk with your doctor to see if a high-protein diet, more vitamin D, or supplements like biotin would help. Beyond that, she says doctors can help you find out if your stress has triggered anxiety or depression that needs treatment. Sometimes, she says, it also just helps for patients to hear from a medical professional that while hair loss can become a chronic problem, this type usually clears up.
âMost of the time, it does improve,â Hogan says. âI think itâs important to tell patients that in most cases, this is not a permanent hair disorder. It will likely get better within 4 to 6 months. That reassurance and knowledge often does help.â
âThis type of hair loss does tend to improve over time,â Poland agrees. âThat can be variable — some may see all their hair return, and for others it may be more spotty. But usually, as the medical illness resolves, hair tends to regrow.â
Diabetes Medication And Hair Loss
Certain medications used for the treatment of diabetes can interrupt the normal cycle of hair growth.
Metformin is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for people with diabetes.
There are, unfortunately, some isolated reports of hair loss being a side effect of taking this medication.
A 2013 study suggested that long-term use of metformin and folate can lead to a decrease in levels of Vitamin B12, resulting in hair loss.
However, its important to note that the link between metformin and hair loss isnt completely clear.
More often than not, if the hair loss is being caused by medication, it is reversed as your body adjusts to the medication later on.
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Seek Professional Help For Hair Regrowth
Most women go for laser therapy or medications prescribed by dermatologists to regrow the hair.
Some professionals recommend hair lotions and topical sprays. Others give vitamin supplements to grow back the lost hair.
You can also go for surgical options such as hair transplant or scalp surgery to initiate hair regrowth.
If the diabetic hair loss is permanent or beyond repair, no worries. You can always get a sleek wig and rock a totally new style!
Can Hair Loss Be Reversed
There are certain medications that have been used to prevent and even reverse hair loss. Topical minoxidil, which is rubbed onto the scalp, is the most commonly used medication for hair loss. Finasteride is a pill that can be taken by men. There is also some evidence pointing to low-level laser therapy as effective in promoting hair growth/thickness in men and women. Laser therapy caps and bands currently on the market, however, have proven inconsistent. Those starting laser treatment early on in the hair-loss process have shown the most benefit.
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Side Effects Of Medication
Hair loss can be caused by drugs that interrupt the hair cycle. It might be challenging to determine the source of the problem, especially if a person is taking many medications.
Hair loss is a side effect of some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation. When some drugs cause hair loss, the hair usually regrows once the medicine is stopped. Hair loss can be caused by a variety of drugs, including:
- High blood pressure medications
- Cholesterol-lowering medications, including certain statins
- Medications for gout
- Arthritis medications
Does Type 2 Diabetes Cause Hair Loss 4 Facts That You Should Know About This
Does type 2 diabetes cause hair loss? Hair loss can occur for a variety of reasons, including stress, vitamin or mineral deficiency, hormonal imbalance, or pharmaceutical use. Diabetes is one of the potential causes. In this blog, we have an article about how to reverse type 2 diabetes that you might want to read about it.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology stated, that the average person sheds between 50 and 100 hairs each day, which is considered normal. 1 hair loss is a natural component of the hair lifecycle. Each time a hair is lost, it is replaced by another.
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Monitor Blood Sugar Levels
Keeping a check on your blood sugar levels regularly and being prepared is one of the most effective ways to prevent development of any diabetes related complications, including hair thinning and hair loss.
You could do this by purchasing a continuous glucose monitor. You could also consider taking the A1C test, a simple blood test commonly used to obtain average blood sugar levels for the past two to three months. In addition to being a critical step towards creating a treatment plan to manage diabetes, the A1 test can also identify prediabetes.
The test result usually comes in the form of percentages. According to the American Diabetes Association, if your A1C level is between 5.5 % and 6.5 %, your levels have been in the prediabetes range and if your A1C level is 6.5 % or higher, your levels were in the diabetic range .
Consequences Of The Hypothesis
If hair characteristics were demonstrated to have a solid link with early phases of hyperglycemia as well as early damage, we would be able to develop various tools to support primary prevention strategies for DM2 and its related complications. This approach could complement an ongoing array of behavioral activities recommended for DM2 such as calorie restriction, diet, weight loss, and regular exercise.
Operationalizing this hypothesis could yield a simple, non-invasive, low-cost technique that can be self-performed without the need of standardized laboratory tests. In addition, if this tool is based on skin photographs, it opens the possibility of the implementation of a teledermatology system that analyzes the photographs or sends them to a specialist. This approach is especially important in geographically or economically disadvantaged populations with limited access to health services.
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