Hair loss with diabetes is one of the many signs of health impairment. Good blood sugar management, however, may aid in reducing or halting diabetes hair loss.
The life cycle of hair includes a normal phase of hair thinning. Hair will start to come out when it approaches the end of its life cycle. Normally, to replace it, new hair will develop from the same hair shaft.
A new hair may occasionally fail to grow, though. This hair loss may be apparent if there are sizable regions of the head where new hair does not grow.
Numerous elements, such as tension, hormones, high blood sugar, and underlying medical illnesses like diabetes, can influence hair development.
This article discusses how diabetes can impact hair and the treatment choices for hair loss. We also discuss the other impacts that diabetes can have on a person’s health.
Can Diabetes Cause Hair Loss?
Diabetes can have the following impacts on the hair development cycle, which can lead to hair loss and thinning in some people:
- Decrease in hair development
- Allowing hair to develop more quickly than usual
- Preventing new hair from forming
An individual with diabetes may experience hair loss for a variety of reasons, but the above are the most typical ones.
Symptoms of Hair Loss with Diabetes
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can cause hair loss. The pancreas does not produce any insulin in people with type 1 diabetes, an inflammatory disease. Insulin resistance is a condition that occurs in type 2 diabetes, which is the most prevalent variety of the disease.
An essential hormone, insulin aids in the cell’s utilization of blood sugar as an energy source. When it is not produced or used correctly, it causes high blood sugar, which, if not properly managed, can cause several severe problems throughout the body.
There are three major theories as to why people with diabetes experience hair loss:
- Immune System Disorder
Other inflammatory diseases are more likely to occur in people with type 1 diabetes. Alopecia areata is one of the most widespread. Patches of hair loss appear on the head and other areas of the body as a result of the immune system attacking the hair follicles.
Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) happens when sugar remains in circulation and cannot be taken up by the cells for energy. This can be due to a shortage of insulin, insulin resistance, or a mix of the two. Damage to microvascular (smaller) and macrovascular (larger) arteries can develop over time.
For example, if blood vessels in the thighs are injured, hair follicles below the knees can be damaged due to a lack of blood flow, which interrupts the movement of oxygen and nutrients and, as a result, impacts the hair development cycle.
Additionally, hyperglycemia can result in hair loss, frailty, sparseness, or slowed hair development. Insulin intolerance may result in microvascular dysfunction, contributing to the pathogenesis of androgenic alopecia, a genetic condition that causes hair loss.
- Hormonal Imbalance
Diabetes is linked to thyroid problems. Thyroid hormone imbalances can have an impact on the normal hair pattern.
Cortisol (a stress hormone) levels are also known to be elevated in diabetics, which increases insulin resistance. Excess cortisol can cause hair follicle disruption, resulting in hair development diseases like androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata, and telogen effluvium.
Hair Loss with Diabetes – Hair Growth Cycle
Typically, hair passes through four stages.
At least two years pass during the growth period. Each month during this period, hairs develop one centimeter (cm). Hair enters a relaxing phase after a transitional stage. This can last up to four months. Following this stage, some dormant hair comes out.
Diabetes can halt this process, delaying the development of new hair. Additionally, having diabetes can result in you losing more hair than normal.
Not just your cranium is affected by hair loss. Your limbs, legs, and other body regions can also lose hair. The pace at which the hair regrows is slower than normal.
Alopecia areata is more common in people with type 1 diabetes. The immune system targets the hair follicles in alopecia areata, resulting in the loss of patches of hair on the scalp and other portions of the body.
Other potential reasons for hair loss include:
- The stress of dealing with a chronic illness such as diabetes
- A thyroid disorder, which impacts some diabetics and can add to hair loss
- Side effects of your diabetes medications
Causes of Hair Loss With Diabetes
People with diabetes frequently experience hair loss, which has some potential reasons. Some of the elements that may cause hair loss in people with diabetes include the following:
- Uncontrolled diabetes can harm blood capillaries and decrease blood flow to the head, which can result in hair loss.
- Hormonal abnormalities: Diabetes can lead to hormonal imbalances, including insulin and testosterone levels, which can accelerate hair thinning.
- Nutritional deficiencies: Diabetics may have trouble getting minerals, especially biotin, which is crucial for healthy hair.
- Stress: Diabetes management can be worrisome, and worry can make you lose your hair.
- Medication: As a side effect, hair loss can occur with some diabetes medicines, including metformin.
- Diabetes raises the chance of getting autoimmune conditions like alopecia areata, which can result in hair loss.
- Infections: Diabetics are more likely to contract infections, which can occasionally result in hair loss.
Treatment for Hair Loss with Diabetes
Topical medicines, biotin, and dietary modifications are all available treatments for hair loss. The majority of these therapies rarely produce long-lasting effects, though.
- Topical Medication
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a common over-the-counter cure for hair loss. An individual applies the medication straight to the regions of the body where hair loss has happened.
Minoxidil is suitable for both men and women. To get the most out of this product and prevent unwanted adverse effects, it is critical to follow the directions on the label.
- Other Medications
A prescribed drug called finasteride (Propecia) is used to address male pattern baldness in adults. It is offered as a sublingual pill that must be taken every day. Finasteride has not been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration for use by ladies.
A doctor may prescribe steroid shots, steroid tablets, or another dietary immunosuppressant like methotrexate or cyclosporine for alopecia areata. However, there is a significant chance of side effects with some of these therapies.
Biotin is a vitamin B variant found naturally in a variety of meals. Some diabetics have insufficient biotin amounts in their bodies. A 2014 study found evidence that biotin may help delay hair loss in some individuals.
The following foods are high in biotin:
- Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and peanuts
- Whole eggs
- Kidney and liver
- Sweet potato and broccoli
Biotin tablets are also available for buy. However, everyone’s biotin requirements vary, and too much can be detrimental, so always consult a doctor before taking these supplements.
- Lifestyle Changes
Exercise can aid the body in maintaining healthy blood circulation, even though it may not be able to stop hair loss. The blood supply to the upper and lower limbs as well as the hair follicles can be increased by regular exercise. Additionally, it can aid in blood sugar management.
A portion of healthy, varied food is another crucial component of managing diabetes. Blood sugar levels can be better controlled with diets high in lean proteins, veggies, and fruits as well as high-fiber meals.
Q: Can diabetes-related hair loss be avoided?
A: While there is no guaranteed method to avoid hair loss in diabetics, keeping excellent blood sugar control and living a healthy lifestyle can help lower the chance of developing the condition. Furthermore, any underlying health problems that may lead to hair loss must be identified and treated.
Q: What exactly is androgenetic alopecia?
A: Androgenetic alopecia is a form of hair loss induced by heredity and hormonal imbalances. It is also referred to as male or female pattern baldness.
Q: What exactly is alopecia areata?
A: Alopecia areata is a form of hair loss induced by an autoimmune condition. The immune system targets the hair follicles, resulting in bald spots on the head and elsewhere on the body.
Q: Is hair loss a prevalent issue for diabetics?
A: Hair loss is a typical issue for diabetics. Hair loss can occur with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Q: What triggers hair loss in diabetics?
A: Hair loss with diabetes can be triggered by a variety of variables, including impaired blood circulation, hormonal imbalances, stress, and nutritional deficits.
Q: Are there any kinds of hair loss that are more prevalent in diabetics?
A: Yes, two kinds of hair loss are more prevalent in diabetics: androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata.
Diabetes is a persistent disease that can affect a person’s health in a variety of ways. Diabetes may lead to hair loss or thinning in some individuals.
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels, mental and physical stress, and hormonal imbalances are the main reasons for hair loss in diabetics.
It may be possible to stop or lessen the impacts of hair loss by controlling blood sugar levels with medication and behavioral changes. Some medications can be used to address hair loss, though their benefits might not last very long.
For some individuals, losing their hair can be challenging, but there are solutions.
To find out more about how to control your hair loss, talk to your doctor. They might advise modifying your diabetes treatment regimen, taking supplements or medications to treat hair loss, or handling any comorbid conditions like thyroid illness and stress.