Hair loss has become quite common now. According to Harvard Health Publishing, people normally lose around 50 to 100 strands of hair every day. If the number exceeds this, you may find strands of hair in brushes, on clothes, floors and in the drains of sinks. It’s true that many women end up losing their hair as they grow older, but you can’t always blame your age. Your hair losing volume can be because of many reasons, including a health condition such as diabetes. Read on to find out about hair loss from diabetes.
Health Shots consulted Dr Mandeep Singh, Head of department – Plastic Surgery, Paras Health, Gurugram, to find the link between hair loss and diabetes.
Diabetes can lead to hair loss
Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease that is characterised by high levels of blood glucose or blood sugar. Over time, this leads to serious damage to the eyes, heart, kidneys, blood vessels and nerves, according to the World Health Organization. Here’s how diabetes can contribute to hair loss:
1. Poor blood circulation
Dr Singh says that high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the scalp. This can deprive hair follicles of nutrients and oxygen that are needed for healthy hair growth.
2. Hormonal imbalances
Diabetes can cause hormonal imbalances that may lead to hair loss. For instance, when there are high levels of insulin and androgen hormones, they can trigger hair loss.
Diabetes can cause chronic inflammation in the body, damaging hair follicles and causing hair loss.
4. Nutritional deficiencies
People with diabetes may be more prone to nutritional deficiencies, which can affect hair health. So, if you don’t eat foods rich in biotin, iron and zinc, it can lead to hair loss.
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Managing diabetes can be quite stressful and so stress can contribute to hair loss.
Hair loss may be reversible
Most people may try out different methods for hair regrowth, but not all work. In some cases, hair loss related to diabetes can be reversible, says the expert. You might notice hair growth if the underlying cause of the hair loss is addressed. So, if poor blood circulation is contributing to hair loss, managing diabetes and improving blood sugar control may help to improve circulation and promote hair regrowth. Bad news is for those whose hair follicles have been permanently damaged. Then the hair regrowth may not be possible. It’s also important to note that hair regrowth may be a slow process and may not happen immediately after the underlying cause has been addressed.
Ways to prevent hair loss from diabetes
Yes, keeping blood sugar levels within a healthy range is important for overall health and can help to prevent hair loss. Dr Singh says that high blood sugar levels can contribute to hair loss by damaging blood vessels and reducing blood flow to the scalp. So, it’s important to work with a doctor to develop a diabetes management plan that includes healthy eating, physical activity and medication as needed. You can do more to avoid hair loss!
1. Address nutritional deficiencies
Since people with diabetes may be more prone to nutritional deficiencies, it’s important to ensure that the diet is rich in nutrient-dense foods. You can even consider taking supplements as needed.
2. Reduce inflammation
Take steps to reduce inflammation in the body to prevent hair loss. You can eat an anti-inflammatory diet, get regular exercise and manage stress, suggests the expert.
3. Check hormonal imbalances
Diabetes can cause hormonal imbalances, leading to hair loss. So, check with your doctor to address any hormonal imbalances that may be contributing to hair loss.
4. Consider using topical treatments
You can always try out topical treatments that may be helpful in preventing hair loss related to diabetes. For example, minoxidil is a medication that can stimulate hair growth and is available over the counter, says Dr Singh. Also, there are several hair growth supplements and shampoos that may be helpful in promoting hair growth.
But not all the people with diabetes will experience hair loss, and there can be other underlying causes of hair loss. If you’re experiencing hair loss, it’s best to talk to your doctor to find out the underlying cause and then explore appropriate treatment options.