Your body is unable to produce insulin if you have diabetes or doesn’t use it well, or both. A hormone named ‘insulin’ moves sugar from foods you consume from your bloodstream into the cells to be used or stored as energy.
If you don’t have insulin or not used well, sugar may build up in bloodstreams. Excess sugar may damage organs around the body, such as your nerves, eyes, and kidneys. It may also cause damage to the blood vessels. These vessels are known to carry a lot of oxygen in the body to nourish your tissues and organs. Damaged blood vessels are often unable to produce enough oxygen to support hair follicles. So, hair growth cycle is also affected due to lack of oxygen.
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Can Diabetes cause hair loss?
Usually, hair grows in three phases. In active growing phase, lasts for up to two years, hair growth continues at around 1 to 2 cm per month. Then hair undergoes a resting phase which lasts for up to 100 days. Resting hair falls off after that.
This cycle is affected by diabetes. It slows the hair growth down. You may also lose more hair than usual due to diabetes. You may lose hair not only from your head. You may also lose hair on your legs, arms, and other parts of the body. Hair regrows at the rate which is slower than usual.
People having diabetes are more prone to develop a condition “alopecia areta”. The immune system in this condition attacks hair follicles and causes patches of hair loss on different parts of the body.
Diabetes is also the common reason of hair loss. It may be the side effect of stress due to living with a serious disease or from diabetes medicines you take. Diabetes also causes thyroid disease in some people which may lead to hair loss.
If you are suffering from any critical symptoms of diabetes, such as hair loss, talk to your doctor first. Hair loss is a very first step to report as it could cause poor blood flow if it starts in your arms and legs. If it is due to diabetes, you may want to adjust your lifestyle, diet, and medicine to better manage your blood sugar. By keeping your diabetes under control, you may witness improvement. You will see reduced hair loss and regrow more hair than you lose.
Here are some of the common treatments of hair loss with diabetes –
Rogaine (minoxidil) is a topical drug recommended by most dermatologists. You may rub it on your scalp and other areas of hair loss. Men can also take finasteride (Propecia) pill to regrow hair. It has not been approved for women. If hair loss is caused by alopecia, you may be prescribed with steroid medicines to control inflammation.
If large area of your scalp is affected by hair loss, you may want to cover it with hairpiece or wig temporarily. Cost is a bit small and you may remove it when it is not required.
It is a vitamin naturally found in foods like almonds, peanuts, eggs, sweet potatoes, oats and onions. People with diabetes may suffer with lower levels of biotin. According to some evidences, biotin supplements may help in slowing down the process of hair loss.
But you should ask your doctor first. The commonly recommended daily dose is 30 micrograms for adults. But they usually have higher amount of biotin. You need to ask for safe amount from the doctor.
Hair loss is a very frightening experience. But there are certain options for you. To manage your blood sugar better, be sure to engage in daily exercise. It is the best way to control blood sugar and promote delivery of oxygen to your scalp and your extremities of your body. Talk to your doctor about what other ways to manage hair loss with diabetes.