Diabetes and Hair Loss

Could you have diabetes and hair loss? It could be, but maybe you don't even know it. According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2015, about 30.3 of Americans suffered from the disease. Of these, 23.1 million knew it, while 7.2 million did not. Diabetes is one of the causes of hair loss.

When we think about diabetes, we almost always think of sweets. But when one sees that one of the results is hair loss, the least we think is something sweet.

I do not have diabetes, but my dad does. In 1984 he was diagnosed with pancreatitis, and although he survived, it caused his pancreas not to produce enough insulin to absorb his glucose correctly. That made him suffer from type 2 diabetes from then on.

But no one else in my family suffers from the condition from my dad's side or mom's. Read on to know how diabetes and hair loss affected my dad.

When does diabetes occur?

Diabetes does occur when you have high blood glucose levels. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and 2. Both could affect your hair loss. But how could it come to this, and in what way can you keep your diabetes in check, even though there is not a known cure?

There are different reasons why diabetes and hair loss are related. As I mentioned above, there are two types, 1 and 2. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease. What does that mean? That means that the one who has it is likely to develop alopecia areata.

You should note that if you have thinning hair, that could mean you already have insulin resistance or maybe pre-diabetes. In 2015, about 84 million Americans aged 18 and older had pre-diabetes.

What types of diabetes lead to Hair Loss?

Alopecia areata is a condition in which the white blood cells attack the hair follicles instead of protecting them as it is supposed to be. It can form patches of hair loss on your scalp and a loss of hair on your entire body.

It is the same situation as when soldiers go to battle. Sometimes, some of them get trapped in what is known as "friendly fire." The soldiers on the same side shoot at those in front without noticing they are killing their companions.

Something like this happens when someone has type 1 diabetes. The white blood cells attack the scalp, thinking they are enemies. That is one of the reasons why diabetes and hair loss are connected.  

However, the most common kind of diabetes is type 2. About 90 percent of those with the condition have it. Under some circumstances, the body resists insulin hormone. This hormone controls the movement of sugar in cells. In others, the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin.

Sugar accumulates in the body, leading to organ damage, such as the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.

Type 2 diabetes and hair loss are related to telogen effluvium. It is a body's natural process in which the hair continues to grow for two years, then stops, and in two more months, enters the final shedding phase.

But diabetes gets in the process, and it loses more hair than usual. Then when the stage of hair growth comes, it decelerates.

How are diabetes and hair loss linked?

The link between diabetes and hair loss is because sugar excess affects the blood vessels, and if the blood vessels are not working well, they won't transport enough oxygen and nutrients to different body tissues.

The person with diabetes tends to suffer from hair loss and thinning hair, either by the difficulties with blood circulation or problems regulating the quantity of glucose in the bloodstream.

If you have a chronic disease such as diabetes, that alone can cause stress, and this can cause the hair to fall. Medicines to treat diabetes can have side effects, including hair loss. Diabetes can lead to conditions in the thyroid and also loss of hair.

The wounds and bruises of the diabetic one are more challenging to heal or do more slowly. Then, since the recovery is slower, hair regrowth will also be.

What can you do?

You must see your doctor, first things first. That way, you will receive professional help to see the reasons behind your hair loss. Maybe there is another condition besides diabetes that is causing your hair to fall, like a thyroid problem.

What else can you do?

            ·    Since we are talking about your doctor, be sure to know if the medication you are taking does not have any side effects that contribute to your hair loss. Maybe it's just a matter of adjusting the medication.

            ·    If you have problems with anxiety, it would be wise to address that problem because it will sabotage all your efforts to control your hair loss. Click here for more information about the relationship between stress and hair loss.

            ·    Exercise regularly, but talk to your doctor first to avoid exercises that cause too much strain on your body.

            ·    Eat healthy foods, especially the ones that promote your hair growth.

            ·    Take biotin. Those with diabetes use to have low levels of biotin in their body. They can take biotin as a supplement or eat foods like fish, almonds, eggs, beef liver, etc. The recommended dosage is 80 micrograms per day, but as I said before, ask your doctor first.

Do you remember what I told you about my dad? The pancreas was inflamed, and as a result, it stopped producing enough insulin. That made him suffer from type 2 diabetes. However, he's 81 now and still has a full head of hair.

If you approach your diabetes problem correctly, even if you have a loss of hair, eventually it will return, although more slowly. If you are looking for more information on the causes of hair loss, make a click here.

One last piece of advice. Breathe deeply, relax and think positively. You will clear your mind and see that the solution to your problem is closer than you imagine.