There is a definite connection between diabetes and hair loss. Some women are not even aware that they have the condition and a loss of hair can be one of the first signs.
On this page I'll take a look at the symptoms of diabetes, why it causes hair loss, and what to do if it's affecting you.
NOTE: This information is provided for guidance purposes only and should not be seen as medical advice. You should always discuss ANY concerns about your health with a qualified medical professional.
According to recent statistics, 24% of diabetes cases go undiagnosed. Data from the National Diabetes Statistics Report 2014 shows that there are 29.1 million Americans with diabetes - but only 21 million people are aware of it.
There are lots of different reasons that diabetes causes hair loss, which I will cover later in this article. But it's also worth knowing that thinning hair can also indicate two other related conditions -
Insulin resistance is a precursor to pre-diabetes and BOTH conditions are precursors to type 2 diabetes.
When insulin levels in the body remain sufficiently high over an extended period of time, the body's sensitivity to the hormone begins to decline. This is called insulin resistance.
A difficult condition to reverse, insulin resistance causes symptoms that include high blood pressure, lethargy and hunger. It's a 'vicious circle', because the increased insulin levels and weight gain make the insulin resistance even worse.
Eventually it can develop into pre-diabetes, which doctors can identify by increased glucose levels in the blood.
Research supports the fact that women with insulin resistance are at risk of hair loss - so it's certainly worth discussing this possibility with your doctor if your hair loss is unexplained.
Source: Insulin Resistance - MedicineNet
Insulin is a hormone that the body produces in order to utilize carbohydrates.
Sugars from the foods you eat go to the bloodstream and insulin moves those sugars from the bloodstream to the cells, where they are either stored or used as energy.
People with diabetes either don't produce this vital insulin, their bodies don't use it properly, or both.
The result is that sugar can build up in the blood, causing multiple problems.
There are two different kinds of diabetes - Type 1 and Type 2.
This type occurs when the immune system destroys the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin. The result is that the body can no longer regulate blood sugars properly.
The condition, which cannot be cured but CAN be managed, is generally diagnosed in childhood. It is also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes. It is far less common than Type 2 diabetes.
This type occurs when the pancreas doesn't make ENOUGH insulin to properly control the amount of sugar in the blood.
90% of diabetics have Type 2 diabetes.
Unfortunately, the condition is on the rise, because it can be triggered or made worse by bad food choices, lack of exercise and being overweight.
It's this type of diabetes that many people have without even knowing.
The good news is that the condition can be improved - and sometimes even reversed - by doing more exercise, losing weight and eating healthily.
Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can cause hair loss.
Unfortunately, the reasons for diabetes-related hair loss are complicated and varied. This can make it quite difficult to identify just what might be causing YOUR issues.
Here's a summary of potential reasons - but it's important to talk to your doctor to see which might apply to you, and - if appropriate - to discuss what action to take.
You may also be at an increased risk of frontal fibrosing alopecia, a hair loss condition that involves the immune system.
If diabetes is the ONLY cause of your thinning hair, then the good news is that it's probably a temporary problem.
Once you start receiving treatment, and your hormones start working properly again, your hair growth cycle should begin to settle down and return to normal, although the rate of growth may be a little slower than before.
Nevertheless, here are some positive steps you can take to address the issue.
If you have been affected by diabetes-related hair loss and have any advice or experiences you'd like to share,
please do get in touch with me here.
For more information...
Healthline - Does Diabetes Cause Hair Loss?