Diabetes is a complex disorder with several categories that affect people differently. According to the Center for Disease Control, almost 10 percent of Americans, over 9 million people, have been diagnosed with diabetes. Many cases of diabetes are undiagnosed.
The combination of diabetes and hair loss is especially stressful. Below are some of the most common questions and answers that people have about diabetes and hair loss.
Does it cause hair loss?
Diabetes can be a cause of hair loss. Alopecia areata is the name of a specific type of hair loss linked to Type 1 diabetes. This is an auto-immune-related hair loss condition in which hair falls out in patches around the scalp. It can also include loss of body hair, including eyelashes, eyebrows and nostril hair.
Some of the symptoms of diabetes that can contribute to hair loss include hormonal changes and hormonal imbalances, immune system malfunctions, blood pressure and circulation irregularities.
How can I find out if my diabetes is the cause of my hair loss?
Contact a health professional to determine the cause, since hair loss can occur for many reasons. It is important for your health care provider to know if your hair loss is a new or recurring symptom.
Will my hair grow back if diabetes is the cause?
Most often, yes – your hair should grow back. Some people experience a quick regrowth and return to the original hair color and texture. Others have found that hair grows thinly and silver at first, returning to original color and thickness later.
Please note there is not a high success rate with predicting whether your hair will grow back and what the condition of growth will be.
Is there anything I can do to protect my hair?
In addition to any treatments prescribed or recommended by your doctor or other hair loss specialist, there are many things you can do to protect your hair.
Essential oils: Applying protective oils to the scalp and to the hair itself can help reduce damage to fragile hair and improve hair follicle health.
Nutrition: Eat a hair-healthy diet. Nutritional deficiencies in such things as protein, iron, zinc, biotin, copper and essential fatty acids can contribute to hair loss. A dietitian can help you assess and improve your diet for healthier hair and scalp.
Stress reduction: Reduce the overall stress in your daily life to help prevent hair loss and promote hair growth. Set a reasonable schedule and include time for relaxation and recreation.
Exercise: Even a daily twenty-minute walk can make a dramatic improvement in your overall health. Exercise improves circulation and promotes healing.
Surgery: There are also several surgical procedures approved for hair restoration.
Laser treatment: There are now several types of laser hair therapies with FDA approval for hair regrowth. Some work by stimulating the scalp, encouraging scalp healing and follicle regrowth.
What research is being done about hair loss and diabetes?
Research about diabetes and hair loss is happening every day. We work toward providing more effective symptom control and toward a cure for diabetes.
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, there are four main types of research happening about diabetes and hair loss:
Research involving animals with hair loss,
Research about genetics,
Research about stem cell biology, and
Research specifically about hair follicle development.
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