How hair loss in women is affected by Diabetes is not something you hear much about, but the connection was discovered years ago.
In fact, hair loss is an early warning sign of diabetes and should always be taken seriously.
As you know, Diabetes is a hormone-related medical condition that affects blood sugar (glucose) levels.
Among other things, Diabetes can lead to:
- Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD), a circulatory condition in which narrowed blood vessels reduce blood flow to the limbs resulting in amputations
- Increased risk of heart attacks and strokes
- Kidney failure
- Gum disease (periodontal disease).
If you have a family history of diabetes or have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and have noticed thinning hair or hair loss, it’s important to see your doctor for a complete checkup.
One of the reasons hair loss in women is affected by Diabetes is that the condition causes a hormonal upset in the body.
- Hair loss is common in people who are under stress or whose hormonal system is fluctuating such as during menopause, pregnancy or with diabetes.
Because Diabetes affects the circulatory system, decreased circulation to any part of the body can be affected and become unable to function properly. This rule also holds true for hair follicles.
- If your scalp has poor blood circulation, it cannot stimulate hair growth and the existing hair follicles can start to die and fall out.
- Several medications (besides insulin) are often needed to manage Diabetes, and some of them may also be responsible for hair loss.
While not every woman will experience hair loss from diabetic medication, if your doctor has prescribed more than insulin and you notice thinning hair, it’s important to notify him/her as soon as possible.Very often a different medication can be used.
Another reason hair loss in women is affected by diabetes is the inability of the body to fight off certain fungal diseases.
- Diabetes breaks downs the body’s response to infection (immunity) or to a cut or sore on the skin, requiring a longer time to heal than a non-diabetic.
- With diabetes, the body’s immune system reacts against its own cells (in this case the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas) and begins to kill the cells.
- Ringworm and other types of fungus or bacteria may cause patchy hair loss in diabetic women.
Any disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells, such as diabetes is a major factor in hair loss. Conditions such as:
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Skin Rashes
- Pernicious anemia
can all be present in diabetics and cause hair loss.
Your physician is your first line of defense. In most cases your doctor can prescribe the best treatment for your particular condition and treat the hair loss.