According to research, losing 50 to 100 hairs a day is normal. However, a serious underlying health problem could already be present when you shed more than that. Could it be diabetes? The short answer is Yes!
Our client Ana had always taken great care of her health, diligently managing her blood sugar levels and following her doctor’s instructions. However, Ana started noticing a distressing change—her once-lustrous hair began to thin and fall out. Concerned about this unexpected side effect, Ana decided reach out to her healthcare provider to discuss her hair loss and its potential connection to her diabetes. The doctor explained that hair loss could be linked to diabetes due to factors like poor circulation, hormonal imbalances, and nutritional deficiencies.
According to Dermatologist Trevor Sandler, “Hair loss can be associated with diabetes, although it is not a direct cause. Diabetes can affect the circulatory system and hormonal balance in the body, which may contribute to hair loss. Additionally, uncontrolled blood sugar levels and nutritional deficiencies, common in diabetes, can impact the health of hair follicles.” He also adds, “this condition can be controlled with medication and diet”.
Let us learn the link between diabetes and hair loss.
What is Hair Loss?
Hair loss refers to the partial or complete loss of hair from areas of the body where hair normally grows. It can affect the scalp or other body parts, such as the eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, or body hair. Hair loss occurs gradually over time or suddenly.
The most common type of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia. It is best known as male or female pattern baldness, defined by gradually thinning hair on the scalp. Men experience receding hairline; and women experience a widening part and overall thinning.
How does diabetes cause hair loss?
Here are a few ways in which diabetes can contribute to hair loss:
Impaired Blood Circulation
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can damage and narrow blood vessels. This occurrence reduces blood flow to various body parts, including the scalp. Inadequate blood circulation affects the transport of nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles, weakening hair growth and increasing hair fall.
Diabetes can cause hormonal imbalances. Fluctuations in hormones, such as androgens, can contribute to hair loss. Excess androgens can lead to a condition called androgenetic alopecia, which is characterized by patterned hair loss in both men and women.
Chronic inflammation in diabetes patients can have adverse effects on hair follicles. It can affect the normal hair growth cycle and contribute to hair loss or thinning.
Diabetes patients are prone to certain nutritional deficiencies, such as B vitamins, vitamin D, and iron. These nutrients are necessary for hair growth, and their lack can contribute to hair loss.
Some medications used to manage diabetes may have hair loss as an adverse reaction. However, note that not all diabetes medications cause hair loss, and this side effect is relatively rare.
How to treat hair loss if you have diabetes?
Our client Ana, as she shared her story with us, started with focusing on maintaining stable blood sugar levels. She diligently monitored and managed her blood glucose through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and proper medication. By keeping her diabetes under control, she aimed to minimize any potential impact on her hair. Ana also made sure to prioritize her overall health and well-being. She took supplements recommended by her doctor to address any nutrient deficiencies that might contribute to hair loss. Additionally, she incorporated foods rich in vitamins and minerals, such as leafy greens, nuts, and fish, into her diet. These changes not only supported her diabetes management but also nourished her hair from within.
Understanding the importance of blood circulation, Ana incorporated scalp massages into her daily routine. Gently massaging her scalp stimulated blood flow, delivering essential nutrients to her hair follicles. She used natural oils, like coconut or olive oil, to nourish her scalp during these massages, promoting a healthy environment for hair growth. She opted for gentle shampoos and conditioners that were free from harsh chemicals, ensuring they wouldn’t strip away natural oils or cause further irritation.
She also avoided excessive heat styling and opted for heat-free hairstyles whenever possible, reducing stress on her already delicate hair.
With consistent efforts, patience, and a holistic approach, Ana successfully managed her hair loss while living with diabetes. Her dedication to her overall health, blood sugar control, and the specific measures she took to care for her hair made a significant difference. Not only did she regain some of her lost hair, but she also felt more confident and empowered in her journey. She shared her story with us to inspire others facing similar challenges.
The bottom line is, hair loss is treatable, and you can reclaim your beautiful hair with minor lifestyle adjustments, a healthy diet, and medications.
Doctors and experts suggest the following to cure hair loss.
Treating hair loss in individuals with diabetes involves addressing both the underlying cause of hair loss and managing diabetes effectively.
- Ensure you effectively manage your diabetes by following your healthcare provider’s recommendations. It includes maintaining stable blood sugar levels through a balanced diet, regular exercise, and proper medication or insulin use.
- Before starting any medications, please consult a healthcare professional to ensure they are suitable for your specific condition.
- Ensure you have a well-balanced diet with essential nutrients for hair health, such as vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc.
- You can also take over the counter supplements to balance out your nutritional deficiencies.
- Avoid Hairstyles that cause traction. If you have diabetes-related hair loss, avoid hairstyles that put excessive tension or pull on the hair, such as tight ponytails, braids, or hair extensions.
- Treat your hair and scalp gently to avoid further damage. Use shampoos and conditioners. Avoid excessive heat styling or chemical treatments. Consider using a brush or comb with soft bristles to prevent hair breakage.