Diabetes and Hair Loss: Is There a Connection between Diabetes and Hair Loss?

Diabetes is a group of common metabolic diseases that trigger high blood sugar levels in the body as a result of a shortage of insulin produced by the body. Insulin is a hormonal substance released by the pancreas when food has been consumed. Insulin makes it possible for sugar to be consumed by the cells after leaving the blood. Should the cells of the body lack insulin or are unable to produce sufficient insulin, sugar begins to build up in the blood. This condition is referred to as diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes include but aren’t limited to the following:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Incessant hunger
  • Urination
  • Tiredness
  • Slow-healing injuries
  • Blurry vision

There are also various types of diabetes. Depending on the type of category one is diagnosed with, the rate of development could differ. For example, type 1 diabetes is known to develop quicker than other forms of diabetes. This is evident with the drastic weight loss that sets in within a few days.

Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is a slowly developing ailment that usually goes undiagnosed untilmuch severe and long-lasting problems like heart attack, numbness, tingling in the feet, or pain appear.

Here is a full list of the categories of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Prediabetes

A long-term and potentially irreversible effect of diabetes on the body is the damage the excess sugar does to the organs all over the body. Organs like the eyes, nerves, kidneys, and even blood vessels are susceptible to the disease and could end up suffering permanent dilapidating damages. These vessels were designed to aid the spread of oxygen around the body and as such damaged vessels would not be able to function as they were intended.

Diabetes and Hair Loss

Hair growth can be summarized into three main phases. The active growing phase lasts for about two years or more with a hair growth rate of 1 – 2cm per month. Subsequently, hair goes into a dormant resting phase which continues for about 100 days. What comes next is the shedding of some of the resting hair.

Patients who have diabetescan expect a noticeable disruption to this process, either slowing down or stunting hair growth. Diabetes could also cause a significant amount of hair to be shed. This hair loss is not limited to just hair on the head as the hair on the arms, legs and other body parts are usually victims of this. Also, when the hair regrows, it does this at a much slower rate.

People with diabetes are also more likely to suffer from a condition called alopecia areata than the average person. Alopecia causes the immune system to attack the hair follicles of a person resulting in patches of hair loss on the head and other areas of the body.

Diabetes is also a cause of hair loss. Hair could be lost as a result of the stress of living and managing a chronic illness or as a side effect of current or past medication used to treat diabetes. People with diabetes are also prone to developing thyroid disease which could further worsen the hair loss.

Another way diabetes could also trigger hair loss is by disrupting the body’s hormonal system. By composition, hormones are complex substances that work with other substances closely to cause several physical actions including hair health and growth. A fluctuating hormonal level wrought by diabetes can affect the regeneration process of hair follicles negatively and lead to hair loss.

Treating Hair Loss

Treating Hair Loss

Adjusting to a life with hair loss brought on by diabetes could be done thanks to a variety of medical and non-medical options.

Before exploring any of these options, the most important thing to do is to speak to your doctor. Discuss with your doctor if you begin to experience any strange diabetes symptoms (including hair loss). Watch out for hair loss on the arms and the legs specifically because this could be the result of inadequate blood flow.

Should the hair loss be linked to diabetes, an adjustment of lifestyle, diet, or medicine could be in the cards to maintain a favorable blood sugar levels. For most people, once the diabetes is under control, there is a noticeable reduction in hair loss levels and an uptick in hair regeneration time.

Apart from a trip to your medical doctor, here are some other ways you can solve your hair loss problems:

1. Medicine:

A visit to the dermatologist could end up with a prescription for topical drugs like minoxidil which is rubbed onto the scalp and other areas suffering from hair loss. Men who suffer from hair loss could also use a pill called finasteride to regrow hair. Should alopecia be confirmed as a cause of the loss, chances are your doctor would prescribe a steroid medicine to get rid of any inflammation.

2. Biotin:

Biotin is a naturally occurring vitamin. It could be found in foods like peanuts, sweet potatoes, eggs, oats, onions,and almonds. Compared to healthy people, patients with diabetes could have lower levels of biotin.

There is evidence that the consumption of biotin supplements and biotin rich food could severely slow down hair loss. The recommended intake for adults is 30mg per day,but it is better to consult with your doctor to get a more accurate prescription.

3. Wigs:

Wigs are an artificial way of dealing with hair loss. Usually recommended for people who suffer from a large loss of hair on their scalp, wigsusually cost less than drugs and can be changed as often as possible.

Hair loss could be a scary experience,but it is important to know you are not going through it alone. Better control over blood sugar levels and an active exercise routine are sure ways to bring down blood sugar levels and increase oxygen delivery to all the areas of your body.

Laura Day
 

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