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Signs Of Diabetes Hair Loss

How To Tell If You Have Diabetes

Does Diabetes Cause Hair Loss?

There are a couple of tests available for detecting type 1 diabetes. These include fasting plasma glucose test , oral glucose tolerance test , and blood glucose level test . These tests are long-term and are designed to be duplicated on a weekly basis after a defined amount of time. If after a week your blood glucose level is still elevated, you ought to see a doctor for a glucose testing to be done. However, there are other diabetes signs you can look out for, and if youre experiencing any of them you need to consult a physician as soon as possible.

What Treatment Options Are Available For Alopecia Areata

Some patches of hair loss will spontaneously regrow hair without treatment.

Most patients and families, however, are interested in trying treatment to speed up hair regrowth. Selection of treatment depends on the age of the patient, how widespread the hair loss is, how long the hair loss has been present and other medical problems.

Pediatric dermatologists at Nationwide Childrens may recommend the following treatment options: topical steroids, injections of steroids, topical minoxidil , topical irritants and immunotherapy, or pills that turn down the immune system.


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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Is Hair Loss From Diabetes Reversible

If your hair loss is related to diabetes, then the next question that bothers you will be whether the hair loss from diabetes will grow back. Well, hair loss from diabetes is reversible in some cases.

Several treatments are available to prevent further thinning and loss of hair, including topical medications, Ayurvedic remedies, lifestyle modifications, etc. The best thing is that sometimes these treatments can also help grow back the hair in affected areas. However, the results of most of the hair loss treatments are more likely to cease when treatment is stopped.

The most effective way to slow or stop hair loss that results from diabetes is to adjust your diet, lifestyle, or medicine to keep your blood sugar levels within the range recommended by your doctor.

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What Steps Can I Take To Prevent Or Slow Hair Loss

Hair Loss Through Diabetes

Unfortunately, certain types of hair loss are genetic, and very little can be done to prevent them. Genetic types of hair loss include alopecia areata and female pattern hair loss.

But other types of hair loss can be brought on by stress and a poor diet. Do your best to eat a balanced diet, and find ways to take care of your mental health.

For added benefit, stay up to date with your routine checkups. Anemia, low levels of vitamin D and abnormal thyroid hormones can all affect the health of your hair. Simple bloodwork from your primary care physician can determine if these conditions are contributing to your hair loss.

Black women in particular are prone to a type of hair loss called traction alopecia, which is caused by heat, chemicals and tight styles that pull at the hair root, including some braids, dreadlocks, extensions and weaves.

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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.

Catagen The Second Stage Of Hair Growth

The Catagen stage of hair is a short, transitional phase. During the second phase, hair stops growing and prepares for a dormant, or resting stage.

This preparation includes a significant shrinking of the outer root sheath and a fastening to the root of the hair.

The Catagen stage lasts for two to three weeks, and about 3% of your hair is in this stage at any given time.

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Hair Or Follicle Transplants

Hair or follicle transplants are typically saved as a final treatment option, as they are expensive and don’t always provide a long-term solution to hair loss if the underlying cause isn’t also addressed. If you have addressed your blood sugar levels and diabetes management, and you want fuller, thicker hair in a relatively short amount of time, this option might be right for you.

However, bear in mind that this is a procedure that could carry many minor or major side effects and complications, so it is important to do your research to decide if it is the right thing for you and worth the potential risks.

What Can I Do About Traction Alopecia

Does Diabetes Cause Hair Loss and What Can You Do?

To protect your hair from traction alopecia and prevent further damage:

  • Ask your stylist to create looser braids or dreadlocks.
  • If you have braids, remove them after three months.
  • If you wear a weave or hair extensions, remove them after eight weeks.
  • If you have relaxed or dyed hair, make sure these treatments are applied by a professional. If you still notice breakage or hair shedding, avoid chemical treatments completely.
  • Minimize heat styling, including hair dryers, flat irons and curling irons. These wear out the hair and can lead to major hair loss.

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Favorite Alternative Medicine Resource

If youre interested in the latest science behind mind-body practices and herbal remedies related to your health, you can consider bookmarking the NCCIHs website. There arent any known alternative therapies that will cure alopecia areata, but a healthy diet and lifestyle may help. For example, if your dermatologist recommends stress management, start at the NCCIH’s page on mind and body approaches to stress and anxiety.

Hair Loss Due To Diabetes

You would be surprised to know that diabetes is the leading cause of hair loss among adults. Our body uses insulin that moves the sugar from the foods into the cells to be stored or used as energy. When our body does not produce enough insulin, sugar keeps on building in our blood and damages our internal organs including eyes, nerves and kidneys. It can also damage the blood vessels that carry oxygen all over our body to nourish the organs and tissues. Damaged blood vessels may not be able to transport sufficient oxygen to the hair follicles and hence it negatively affects our normal hair growth cycle.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that stays for life. It makes us prone to serious health issues. In fact, the most common one among them is hair loss. Diabetes affects the circulation of blood in your body, including its flow to your scalp. Circulation of blood is important for the production of new hair cells. When the blood flow to your scalp is affected due to diabetes, it leads to hair loss or alopecia.

Diabetes affects the hair growth cycle of the hair by impairing hair growth, causing more hair to grow than normal and stopping new hair from forming.

The other reasons behind hair loss in diabetics are nutritional deficiencies, genetics and stress.

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Is Hair Loss A Symptom Of Diabetes

Hair loss can be a symptom of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune condition in which the pancreas does not make any insulin. In type 2, the most common form of diabetes, the body makes insulin but doesn’t use it properly this is called insulin resistance.

Insulin is an important hormone that aids metabolism. When it is not being made or used properly, it leads to high blood sugar, which, in turn, can result in numerous serious complications throughout the body if not properly controlled.

There are thought to be two main causes of hair loss in diabetes.

Signs To Look Out For

Can Diabetes Cause Hair Loss

Hair thinning for diabetes comes with several symptoms that precede it, and these signs can help patients know when they should get help. Generally, one of the major symptoms that should give people with diabetes the red flag is their hair loss pattern.

Hair loss may, in certain instances, just be a natural phenomenon and may not be directly related to diabetes. This is particularly true as even healthy people experience decreased hair growth speed as they age. So, its critical that people with diabetes understand the pattern with which theyre losing hair and determine if its diabetes-related or not.

One major sign diabetics should look out for is if handfuls of hair are lost during bathing or combing. If the hair loss leaves uneven patches over the scalp, its likely a case of alopecia areata triggered by high blood sugar.

Proactive treatment with effective formulas can help curtail such hair loss in its infancy. However, remission or continuous recurrence is likely. Most people with diabetes who overlook these signs are extremely likely to permanently lose a significant amount of their hair.

Another sign that people with diabetes should look out for is if there are noticeable hair decreases all over their body. While the inability of a hair follicle to regrow hair is the major sign of impending baldness, loss of hair over the body is a common occurrence for people that have diabetes.

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Diabetes: 12 Warning Signs That Appear On Your Skin

Diabetes can affect many parts of your body, including your skin. When diabetes affects the skin, its often a sign that your blood sugar levels are too high. This could mean that:

  • You have undiagnosed diabetes, or pre-diabetes

  • Your treatment for diabetes needs to be adjusted

If you notice any of the following warning signs on your skin, its time to talk with your doctor.

About Diabetes Prediabetes & Insulin Resistance

Whether its prediabetes or diabetes, hair loss connected to these conditions is caused by higher than normal sugar levels in the blood. The difference between prediabetes and diabetes is just how high these sugar levels actually are so think of prediabetes as a step down from diabetes on the blood glucose scale.

Blood sugar levels become unnaturally high when cells cannot take sugar out of the blood to convert it into energy. Insulin is a key player in this process since its job is to help cells take sugar from the bloodstream and into the cells.

High blood sugar levels can result from a lack of insulin in the body due to the pancreas not producing enough. Elevated blood sugar might also happen when a cell becomes unresponsive or insensitive to insulin, which is called insulin resistance. High blood sugar can also be caused by a combination of a lack of insulin and insulin resistance.

When blood sugar levels remain high, it can cause a wide range of negative impacts on your body, including damage to various tissues, organs and blood vessels. It can also cause hair thinning, hair fragility or decreased hair growth speed. In fact, some research suggests that hair loss might even be an early sign of type 2 diabetes, especially for folks who are already prediabetic. Another study also suggested that type 2 diabetes might pose a particular risk for hair loss in Black women.

Also: Tips for Black Women Experiencing Hair Loss from Black Hair Experts

Read Also: Signs Of Type 1 Diabetes In Women

What Are The Signs Of Low Blood Sugar Level Can Diabetes Cause Hair Loss

Signs include fuzzy vision, dry mouth, quick or irregular heart beat, headache, dizziness, tiredness, constipation, and swollen feet or hands. You may likewise experience indigestion, regular urination, restlessness, tiredness, irritability, sleeping disorders, and chills. See a doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms. These symptoms may also indicate other conditions, so it is essential to have your doctor examine you out thoroughly.

Is It Possible To Reverse Hair Loss Caused By Diabetes

Can Diabetes Cause You Hair Loss? Hair loss due to diabetes Explained.

In certain instances, hair loss may be reversed. There are a variety of therapies available, some of which are different for males and females. Although hair loss treatments are helpful in the majority of cases, most of them are merely temporary remedies that only function while a person is undergoing the therapy.

Some individuals may delay or even reverse the hair loss that occurs as a consequence of diabetes. The most efficient strategy to do this is to keep excellent control of blood sugar levels while also controlling stress.

A persons blood sugar may be controlled by doing the following:

  • They should be frequently checking their blood sugar levels,
  • They should be taking all medicines as prescribed by their doctor,
  • They should be eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet,
  • They should be exercising on a regular basis.

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High Blood Sugar & Reduced Circulation

Blood sugar plays a starring role in your bodys functions by serving as its primary energy source. However, when blood sugar levels get too high, problems can arise in nearly all of your body systemsincluding blood circulation.

This is partly due to the damage that high blood sugar can have on your blood vessels, which supply blood and nutrients to your entire body. When tiny blood vessels called capillaries become damaged by high blood sugar levels, the tissues that those capillaries nourishincluding those in your scalpstart to malfunction .

What does this mean for hair loss? The hair growth cyclehair growth, loss, and replacementdepends partly on healthy blood flow to your scalp. When this is compromised , your scalp cant continue to grow and replace hair like it normally would .

How To Prevent Hair Loss In A Diabetic Dog

Like diabetes in humans, diabetes in dogs must be closely monitored to avoid various issues, including hair loss, and eventually, your pet will live a longer, healthier life.

Furthermore, when a dogs diabetes remains under control, they will not have abnormal thirst and urination times they will enjoy a normal appetite, a stable body weight, good vision, and healthy hair and skin.

Generally, there are three significant parts of controlling blood sugar in dogs as well as humans. To prevent hair loss in diabetic dogs and other issues, you need to focus on your dogs diet, blood glucose level, and exercise. Lets briefly discuss these:

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The Basics: What Is Hair Restoration Procedure

A hair restoration procedure is a surgical procedure that involves the use of hair transplantation techniques to restore hair in areas of thinning or baldness. Hair transplant consultants or surgeons do this cosmetic procedure in two ways:

  • Follicular Unit Strip Surgery : This is the most common procedure doctors use. The doctor extracts hair follicles from the back of your head and implants them in areas with baldness or thinning. FUSS is also known as strip surgery.
  • Follicular Unit Extraction : This newer technique allows doctors to transplant individual hair follicles. FUE is also known as punch surgery because it involves removing small plugs of skin, each containing one or more follicular units, from the back of your head and implanting them in areas where you want to grow new hair.

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Hair Loss Due To Diabetes

Studies show that the three signs you may notice in your hair include:

  • No new hair growing
  • Hair growing at a faster rate
  • Hair growing at different rates on different parts of the head.
  • A study published in 2019 by experts at the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, found that there was an association with type 2 diabetes and severe central scalp hair loss in women.

    Writing in the International Journal on Women’s Dermatol, medics said that ‘patients with type 2 diabetes should be followed closely for central scalp hair loss so that appropriate treatment can be offered’.

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    Anagen The First Stage Of Hair Growth

    The first stage of hair growth, the Anagen stage, is the active stage of hair growth.

    Cells in the roots of the follicle divide rapidly. Approximately 80-90% of hair is in this stage at any given time.

    The hair on the scalp grows at about a half-inch per month. The Anagen stage remains active on the scalp for two to six years.

    When To See A Dermatologist

    Diabetes can cause many other skin problems. Most skin problems are harmless, but even a minor one can become serious in people who have diabetes. A board-certified dermatologist can recognize skin problems due to diabetes and help you manage them.

    Are all dermatologists board certified?

    No. See what it takes to become board certified.

    ImagesImage 1: Image Courtesy of Clark C. Otley, MD. All Rights Reserved

    Images 3, 7, 8, 9: Used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.

    Image 2 from DermNetNZ

    Some images used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology

    Images 5, 6 and 10: Getty Images

    ReferencesCohen Sabban, EN. Cutaneous manifestations of diabetes mellitus from A to Z. Focus session presented at: 74th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology March 4-8, 2016 Washington D.C.

    Duff M, Demidova O, et al. Cutaneous manifestations of diabetes mellitus. Clinical Diabetes. 2015 33:40-8.

    Kalus AA, Chien AJ, et al. Diabetes mellitus and other endocrine disorders. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. Fitzpatricks Dermatology in General Medicine . McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008:1461-70.

    McKinley-Grant L, Warnick M, et al. Cutaneous manifestations of systemic disease. In: Kelly AP and Taylor S. Dermatology for Skin of Color. . The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. China, 2009:481-4.

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