Understanding Diabetes-Related Hair Loss
If you’re like many people, as you’ve started to age, you’ve notices you hair has grown thinner. Maybe you’re experiencing hair loss or male pattern baldness. There are many causes of alopecia, which is the term often used to describe the loss of hair that happens in clumps.
Normal, healthy hair grows in three phases. During your hair’s active growing phase, hair grows at a rate of 1 to 2 centimeters every month. Your hair then goes into a resting cycle that usually lasts about 100 days. After this phase, some of your hair will fall out and you will repeat the cycle again. New hairs will grow to replace the ones you’ve lost as the cycle repeats itself.
Can Diabetes Cause Baldness?
Yes, diabetes can cause certain types of hair loss as well as baldness.
If you have diabetes that’s difficult to manage, fluctuations in your health can interrupt the life cycle of your hair and slow your new hair growth. Diabetes can also cause a larger amount of hair loss on your body. You won’t just lose the hair on your head if this is the case. You may find your legs, arms, and even public region may experience hair loss. When your hair regrows, it will often regrow at a much slower rate than other people who are healthy.
If you have diabetes, you may also end up with a condition called alopecia areata. When you have this type of alopecia, the immune system attacks your hair follicles. This damage causes patches or hair clumps to fall out of your head and sometimes other areas of our body.
Diabetes itself can even lead to hair loss, either as a side effect from stress or from certain medications you may be taking. You may also have co-occurring illnesses, such as thyroid disease. This can also cause hair loss if it goes unchecked.
What to Do About Diabetes-Related Hair Loss
If you have diabetes and are afraid its causing hair loss, the first thing you will want to do is speak with your doctor. If you are experiencing hair loss in your arms or legs, make sure to tell the doctor. This can signal you don’t have enough circulation or have blood flow issues, which can lead to a host of other scary health disorders. Don’t ignore hair loss like this, even if you find it embarrassing.
The doctor can help your determine the source of your hair lose. If the hair loss is related to your diabetes, you can take measures to restore your hair. You may need to adjust your diet, take a multivitamin, or do a better job regulating your blood sugar. If it is related to your thyroid hormones, you may need to do hormone replacement therapy.
If you continue to experience hair loss, you may want to consider trying a shampoo or taking supplements such as Biotin to help support hair regrowth. You may also want to experiment with hairpieces, wigs or extensions. Once your diabetes is under control, you may notice you’re shedding fewer hairs. You’ll also eventually notice a period of regrowth or “baby hairs’ as your hair’s life cycles gets rebooted.