does diabetes cause hair loss?
By Tamim Hamid Posted on 11/02/2016

Does Diabetes Cause Hair Loss? Treatment and Management

You all have heard about diabetes, right? It is a disease affecting millions of people worldwide. Diabetes is a chronic health condition that occurs when the body is unable to properly regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels. But do you know that diabetes also contributes to hair loss?

Yes, diabetes can lead to hair loss and thinning hair for some people. Hair loss is a potential complication of diabetes caused by poor blood sugar control. When diabetes raises blood glucose levels too high, it can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle and lead to excessive shedding. While diabetes doesn't directly cause hair loss in the same way, it causes symptoms like increased thirst or frequent urination. It still plays a role that leads to hair loss.

Yes, genes are often a factor, but suddenly losing large quantities of hair could indicate that something's not quite right. Sometimes an underlying medical condition is to blame, including diabetes. Let’s take a look at the connection between diabetes and hair loss – and how laser hair therapy can help if you’re one of the millions of individuals diagnosed with diabetes every year.

How Diabetes Affects the Body and Hair Growth Cycle?

People with diabetes have difficulty in making enough insulin, using insulin effectively, or both. Insulin is a helper hormone that moves sugar from the food you eat in your bloodstream into your body's cells. These cells can then use the sugar for energy or store it.

If there's not enough insulin or it doesn't work well, then sugar can build up in your bloodstream. These high blood sugar levels can cause harm to other parts of your body, like kidneys and eyes. It can also damage nerves and blood vessels.

Blood vessels are responsible for carrying oxygen all around your body to keep your organs and tissues healthy. If these blood vessels are damaged then they might fail to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to help your hair follicles which are roots of your hair. As a result, your hair's usual growth cycle can be disturbed, and you might notice changes in your hair.

Here let's dive deep into how diabetes affects your body and hair growth:

1) Diabetes affects blood flow.

Diabetes affects blood circulation, and not in a good way. Extremities like your feet and hands are not the only things affected: blood flow is compromised in the scalp area as well.

So what happens next? Blood carries nutrients. Hair cells need nutrients to divide and replicate, and eventually, these cells form hair follicle tissue. If you’re healthy, hair follicle tissue thickens into cuticles, which grow into healthy, terminal hair. But if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, hair follicles thin out, and eventually, hair follicles are miniaturized. Your existing hair weakens and sheds, while a lack of nutrients on the scalp prevents new hair growth. Discover actionable tips and techniques on how to stop hair shedding.

While some diabetics can regrow their hair without any assistance, numerous individuals often need help; and since laser hair therapy is a natural solution to diabetes hair loss with no side effects, it’s always the best way to go.

2) Diabetes causes easy bruising.

When small blood vessels rupture and leak blood under the skin, a pool of blood accumulates, causing visible bruises. Bruises are generally a color discoloration that occurs when tissues below the skin surface are injured.

There are many causes of bruises. Some people with medical conditions like diabetes are also prone to bruises, but it's not true that people with bruises always have diabetes. The high sugar level in diabetic people damages the blood vessels over time. Damaged blood vessels cannot circulate proper oxygen and nutrients to all the cells, causing cells responsible for wound healing not to function properly. This causes the formation of small round, reddish, or brownish-like patches called bruises. Minor bruises generally go away on their own within a few days, but it is a must to see a medical practitioner if it is critical.

3) Diabetes weakens the immune system.

Any type of disease or illness weakens the immune system. In this case, your body needs to work much harder to fight off any type of infection – including infections attacking your scalp. Anyone with an enfeebled immune system will be more prone to fungal disease, including ringworm, which can result in patchy hair loss and overall hair thinning.

On top of this, the healing process for diabetic hair loss takes much more time than for healthy individuals. This means that anagen hair (which belongs to the growth phase) becomes energy deprived and can never really blossom. In other words, your scalp suffers from a compromised hair growth cycle, which might lead you to lose hair.

Keep in mind that regardless of your health, you can strengthen your hair follicles with the Theradome. And don’t forget that laser hair growth therapy is clinically proven to shift hair in the anagen phase, which prevents hair loss.

4) Diabetes induces hormonal changes.

Diabetic hair loss is also caused by several hormonal imbalances in the case of women. Ever heard of the term telogen effluvium? It specifically includes hair loss due to drastic hormonal changes. This means that healthy hair in the growth phase gets pushed prematurely into the resting phase, causing an abundance of shedding.

6 Signs of Diabetes Hair Loss

The signs of diabetes hair loss can be difficult to identify since there are hundreds of possible reasons for hair loss. However, the following signs and symptoms might help you recognize if excessive shedding is being caused by diabetes:

1. Excessive hair falling out:

Losing an abnormally large amount of hair strands when brushing, showering, or on your pillow.

2. Overall hair thinning:

Your scalp hair looks sparse, and you can see more of your scalp than normal.

3. Patchy bald spots:

Instead of generalized thinning, you lose hair in random circular or patchy areas on your scalp.

4. Full body hair loss:

Excessive shedding affects hair all over your body, not just your scalp.

5. Dry, brittle texture:

Diabetes can cause hair strands to become very dry, coarse, and brittle, leading to breakage.

6. Slow regrowth:

Even after getting blood sugar under control, any new hair growth comes in slowly and looks thin at first.

Will Hair Loss from Diabetes Grow Back?

Yes, hair loss caused by diabetes can usually be grown back. Maintaining proper blood sugar levels can reduce hair shedding and promote faster hair regrowth in previously affected areas. However, this is not the same in all cases. Some may experience better improvements faster, while others may require more time for significant results. The outcome depends on various factors like medications, dietary system and lifestyle that you are having.

How Do Different Types of Diabetes Cause Hair Fall?

Hair loss is a common symptom of diabetes, affecting both type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients. The main causes are believed to be hormonal imbalance, restricted blood flow due to high blood sugar levels, and in some cases, an autoimmune reaction. Maintaining blood sugar level through medication, diet, and exercise can help prevent and even reverse diabetes-related hair loss.

We have discussed major types of diabetes and their role in hair loss:

Type 1 Diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the pancreas, causing insulin-producing cells to get damaged. The main purpose of insulin is to use glucose for energy by moving it from the bloodstream into cells. When this process is disrupted, the blood sugar level increases, which damages the blood vessels of different body types, including those in the hair follicles. As a result, conditions like Alopecia areata and hair loss may occur side by side. The loss occurs in the form of small and round patches,

Type 2 Diabetes:

Type 2 diabetes is categorized as insulin resistant, where the body's cells can't effectively respond to the insulin. This causes an increase in sugar levels in the bloodstream, which causes blood vessel damage in the hair follicles, leading to type 2 diabetes hair loss. Insulin resistance can also lead to an imbalance in the hormone, causing an increase in androgens. Overstimulated androgens also cause hair follicles to shrink and produce thinner hair, leading to androgenetic alopecia which directly affects the lifecycle of the hair growth cycle.

Gestational Diabetes:

Diabetes diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy is what we call as Gestational diabetes. According to research conducted by the CDC on Prevalence Estimates of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, 1 in 20 (4.6%) pregnancies in the United States are affected with Gestational diabetes, and about half of women who develop gestational diabetes will be more prone to develop type 2 diabetes after pregnancy. The Placental Hormone, which produces many hormones during pregnancy, naturally increases insulin resistance. Elevated insulin increases the glucose level in the bloodstream. The blood vessels, including those in hair follicles, are then damaged, leading to hair loss and hair thinning. This way, gestational diabetes causes hair loss, and many people associate hair loss with pregnancy.

Treatment and Management of Diabetes for Hair Loss

Diabetes induced hair loss treatment and management involve a combination of strategies that aims at controlling high blood sugar levels, promoting overall health, and stimulate hair growth. Here are some steps to consider on how to stop hair loss from diabetes effectively:

1. Manage blood sugar levels:

Timely management of sugar levels is necessary. You must follow proper recommendations for insulin or medication and monitor blood sugar regularly to maintain optimal levels.

2. Adopt a Balanced Diet:

Adopt a balanced diet rich in whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Limit your intake of refined sugars and carbohydrates and reduce serving sizes.

3. Engage in Regular Physical Activity:

Regular exercise can lower blood sugar levels by making the body more sensitive to insulin, which helps cells absorb sugar for energy.

4. Manage Stress:

Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or mindfulness to alleviate stress, which can impact hair health.

5. Maintain Scalp Health:

Keep your scalp clean and well-moisturized. Use mild, sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners.

6. Consume Nutrient-Rich Foods:

Consume food rich in nutrients that promote hair health, such as zinc, biotin, vitamins A and C, and omega-3 fatty acids.

There are also certain medications that can help treat diabetes hair loss and help hair regrow. If alopecia areata is causing hair loss, steroid medications can be used to reduce inflammation. Topical drugs such as minoxidil (Rogaine) are also prescribed by dermatologists or skin care specialists.

Protect your health (and your hair!)

If you think that you might have diabetes, and are experiencing symptoms such as hair loss, bruises, and wounds due to poor circulation, book an appointment with your physician immediately. Diabetes, if left untreated, can cause severe, irreparable damage to your body – and we’re not just talking about your hair. If not addressed properly, diabetes can damage your heart, eyes, kidneys, blood vessels, and nerves.

First, consult your doctor and decide on a treatment course; for instance, did you know that Type 2 diabetes could be treated with simple lifestyle changes? Once you’ve addressed the root of the problem, you can focus on re-growing your hair in the comfort of your home with the FDA-cleared Theradome LH80 PRO.

Your path to luscious, fuller hair begins with Theradome's laser helmet. Act decisively and grab the opportunity for hair rejuvenation. Don't wait – seize the chance for a better tomorrow!

FAQs

Can Hair Loss be a Symptom of Diabetes?

Yes, hair loss can potentially be a symptom of diabetes. Hair loss is a complex issue and can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, hormonal changes, medical conditions, medications, and lifestyle factors.
Although hair loss is not a common or well established symptom, it is still considered as one for diabetes.

How to Stop Hair Loss From Diabetes?

Managing hair loss due to diabetes involves controlling blood sugar levels, maintaining a balanced diet rich in nutrients, staying hydrated, managing stress, and exercising regularly. Also, avoid smoking, and only use gentle hair care products.

Does diabetes make you lose hair on your legs?

Yes, diabetes can cause hair loss on the legs as well as the scalp. High blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nerves that supply the hair follicles, leading to reduced hair growth on the legs and other parts of the body.

Can high insulin cause hair loss?

Yes. When insulin levels rise, it's often because the body's cells aren't responding to the insulin being produced. This increase in insulin causes an increase in androgens, and a higher level of androgens can lead to conditions like androgenetic alopecia, which leads to a receding hairline, bald spots, and thinning hair at the top of the head.

What does diabetes hair loss look like?

Hair loss due to diabetes can appear as patchy hair loss on the head and other body parts, such as the arms and legs.

Can prediabetes cause hair loss?

Yes, prediabetes can cause hair loss. When blood sugar exceeds normal, it indicates insulin resistance, often prediabetes. Higher blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels in hair follicles, leading to hair loss.

Does metformin cause hair loss?

Metformin is a medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes, and there's no direct evidence of it causing hair loss. However, long-term use of metformin causes vitamin B12 deficiency, which causes hair loss, as vitamin B12 is an essential factor for healthy hair growth.

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Tamim Hamid

Tamim Hamid

Inventor and CEO of Theradome

Sayyid Tamim Hamid, Ph.D, is the inventor of the world’s first FDA-cleared, wearable phototherapy device to prevent hair loss and thicken and regrow hair. Tamim, a former biomedical engineer at NASA and the inventor of Theradome, brings with him more than 38 years of expertise in product development, laser technology, and biomedical science. Tamim used his laser knowledge, fine-tuned at NASA, and combined it with his driving passion for helping others pursue a lifelong mission in hair loss and restoration. He is now one of the world’s leading experts.