Hair loss can be an extremely frustrating and embarrassing condition. Narrowing down the cause can also be difficult. Diabetes, is a disease caused by the body not being able to effectively process blood sugar and like hair loss its symptoms can be hard to trace back to the condition itself. But is there a link between hair loss and diabetes?
Diabetes Damages Blood Vessels
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are complicated conditions where the body stops making insulin or fails to use insulin properly. Insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar. If the blood sugar concentration becomes too high, it may begin to damage several areas of the body, which include the eyes, kidneys, heart, nerves and blood vessels.
So, how does this relate to hair loss? Blood vessels bring oxygen-rich blood and nutrients needed for your body to function properly. They affect each part of your body by helping your organs and tissues remain healthy or restore themselves if they are damaged.
Like every other body part, your hair follicles need oxygen and nutrients for growth and development. Without them, the follicles will stop generating hair efficiently, or possibly even die. This hair loss can occur anywhere hair grows on your body, not just on top of the head.
Alopecia areata is typically related to type 1 diabetes. Patches of hair are lost and the condition is not likely permanent so hair generally grows back as soon as the underlying disorder is addressed.
Diabetes often affects the production and normal function of hormones. Within these hormones are androgens, which produce hair growth and keep the follicles healthy. If androgen isn’t produced or distributed correctly hair follicles can go dormant, which can cause the hair shafts to fall out.
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Campbell, Amy. “Help – I’m Losing My Hair!” Diabetes Self-Management. August 29, 2016. Accessed March 27, 2018. https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/help-im-losing-hair/.
Cloe, Adam. “Why Does Diabetes Cause Hair to Fall Out?” Livestrong. August 14, 2017. Accessed March 27, 2018. https://www.livestrong.com/article/382648-how-to-convert-glucose-levels-to-a1c/.
Watson, Stephanie. “Does Diabetes Cause Hair Loss?” Healthline. October 30, 2017. Accessed March 27, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/health/does-diabetes-cause-hair-loss.