The life cycle of hair includes natural hair loss. Hair will begin to fall out when it reaches the end of its life cycle. 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.
Some individuals with diabetes may experience hair thinning or noticeable hair loss. Hair loss is one of the most frequent side effects of diabetes.
In this article, we go over how diabetes may impact hair and what hair loss treatments are available. We also discuss additional physical effects that diabetes may have.
How Diabetes Affects the Body
If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin, doesn’t use it well, or both. Your bloodstream’s sugar from food consumption is moved into your cells by the hormone insulin, where it can be stored or used as fuel.
Sugar can accumulate in your blood when you either don’t have enough insulin or it’s not used properly.
Your eyes and kidneys among the many organs in your body that can be harmed by too much sugar. Your blood vessels and nerves may also be harmed by it.
To hydrate your organs and tissues, your blood vessels transport oxygen throughout your body. Damaged blood vessels may not be able to deliver enough oxygen to nourish your hair follicles. This lack of oxygen can affect your normal hair growth cycle.
How Diabetes Affects the Hair Growth Cycle
Typically, hair goes through four phases.
The active growing phase lasts for 2 years or more. During it, hairs grow 1 centimeter (cm) each month. Hair enters a resting phase after a transitional stage. This can last up to four months. After this stage, some dormant hair falls out.
Diabetes can interrupt this process, slowing down hair growth. Diabetes can also make you lose more hair than usual.
That hair loss doesn’t only affect your head. On your arms, legs, and other body parts, you can also lose hair. When the hair regrows, it does so at a slower than usual rate.
Alopecia areata, a condition, is more common in people with type 1 diabetes. Alopecia areata is a condition in which patches of hair on the head and other parts of the body are lost because the immune system attacks the hair follicles.
Other possible causes of hair loss include:
- The stress of living with a chronic condition like diabetes
- Thyroid disease, which affects some people with diabetes and can contribute to hair loss
- Side effects of your diabetes medications
Can Diabetes Cause Hair Loss?
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
Diabetes can result in hair loss for a variety of reasons, but the following are the most typical ones.
High Blood Sugar Levels
A person’s blood sugar levels may become too high if their diabetes is uncontrolled or untreated. High blood sugar levels over an extended period of time can harm the body’s tissues, organs, and blood vessels.
Certain cells may receive less oxygen and nutrients than they require as a result of blood vessel damage that restricts blood flow. As a result of this deficiency, hair follicles may not grow normally, which may result in baldness.
Hormones and Stress
Diabetes can put a great deal of stress, both physical and emotional, on a person’s body. Hormone changes brought on by ongoing stress may have an impact on hair growth.
Alopecia areata is a condition whereby healthy hair follicles are unintentionally attacked by the immune system. People with type 1 diabetes are more likelyTrusted Source than people without this condition to develop alopecia areata.
On the head, arms, and other parts of the body where hair normally grows, alopecia areata results in patchy hair loss.
Treatments for hair loss
Topical medications, biotin, and lifestyle modifications are among the treatments for hair loss. The majority of these treatments rarely produce long-lasting results, though.
Popular over-the-counter medication for hair loss is minoxidil (Rogaine). To the areas of the body where hair loss has occurred, a person applies the medication directly.
Use of minoxidil is permissible for both sexes. It is essential to follow the instructions on the label to get the maximum benefit from this product and to avoid unwanted side effects.
Online shopping is available for topical minoxidil products.
Adult males who are experiencing hair loss can get finasteride (Propecia) by prescription. It is available as an oral tablet that a person needs to take daily. Finasteride is not permitted for use by females, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.
An oral immunosuppressant like methotrexate or cyclosporine, as well as steroid injections or tablets, may be prescribed by a physician for alopecia areata. Though there is a high risk of side effects with some of these treatments.
A subtype of vitamin B called biotin can be found naturally in many different foods. Some people with diabetes have lower levels of biotin in their body. According to a 2014 review, there is evidence to suggest that biotin may help slow hair loss in some people.
Foods that are rich in biotin include:
- Whole eggs
- Liver and kidney
- Nuts, including almonds, walnuts, and peanuts
- Sweet potato
Supplements containing biotin are also available for purchase. However, people have very different biotin needs, and too much can be harmful, so it is crucial to always speak to a doctor before taking these supplements.
Exercise can aid the body in maintaining healthy blood circulation, even though it may not be able to stop or stop hair loss. Regular exercise can help increase blood flow to different parts of the body, including the hair follicles and the upper and lower extremities. Additionally, it can aid in blood sugar regulation.
Eating a balanced, healthful diet is also an important part of diabetes management. Diets rich in high-fiber foods, vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins are beneficial for controlling blood sugar levels.
When to See a Doctor
A doctor should be seen frequently for checkups if a patient has diabetes. People who are particularly concerned about hair loss should consult their doctor for advice on how to slow down or stop hair loss.
Before beginning any new medication, dietary supplement, or making any significant lifestyle changes, it is imperative to consult a healthcare professional.
Additionally, if a person has any negative reactions to their hair loss treatment, they should seek medical attention. A physician might be able to suggest an alternative course of treatment.
Chronic diabetes can affect a person’s body in a variety of ways. Diabetes can lead to hair thinning or hair loss in some people.
Uncontrolled blood sugar, physical and emotional stress, and hormonal imbalances are the main contributors to hair loss in diabetics.
It may be possible to stop or lessen the effects of hair loss by controlling blood sugar levels with medication and lifestyle changes. While some medications may have transient effects, others are also available to treat hair loss.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Diabetes Cause Your Hair to Fall Out?
Although diabetes does not always result in hair loss, it can affect the health of blood vessels and the body’s capacity to absorb and store nutrients, which can have an effect on hair health. Type 2 diabetes typically has an impact on hair when blood sugar levels are too high and uncontrolled for extended periods of time. Hormones related to stress may also contribute to hair loss.
How Do You Stop Hair Loss from Diabetes?
The most crucial step in preserving blood vessel health and lowering the possibility of suffering from hair loss due to damaged blood vessels is maintaining stable blood sugar levels. This entails maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, and, if your doctor so advises, taking medication to control your blood sugar levels.
Will Hair Loss from Diabetes Get Better?
Diabetes type 2 can cause temporary or permanent hair loss. It might be more difficult to regain healthy hair if blood vessels are severely damaged by persistent blood sugar issues. However, hair may regrow to a fuller, more vital state more quickly if stress hormones are to blame for hair loss or blood sugar is managed before blood vessels are harmed.