Can Diabetes Cause Hair Loss? Here’s What You Should Know

Can Diabetes Cause Hair Loss? Here’s What You Should Know

Millions of Americans suffer from diabetes, a chronic illness that can cause a wide range of symptoms that are disruptive to day-to-day living. Numerous dietary adjustments as well as pharmaceutical treatments are available to help manage diabetes symptoms. Your quality of life with diabetes can be significantly enhanced by maintaining close contact with your physician.

What Is Hair Loss?

Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is a condition characterized by the loss of hair from the scalp or other parts of the body. It is a natural part of the hair growth cycle, where hair goes through periods of growth, rest, and shedding. 

However, when hair loss becomes excessive or prolonged, it may be a cause for concern. Hair loss can be temporary or permanent and can occur due to various factors such as genetics, hormonal changes, certain medical conditions, medications, or lifestyle factors. It can have various emotional and psychological impacts on individuals who experience it. Hair loss treatment options depend on the underlying cause and can range from medications to surgical procedures.

How Diabetes Affects The Hair Growth Cycle

The period of active growth lasts for at least two years. Hairs grow during it by one centimeter (cm) every month. Hair enters a resting phase following a transitional phase. Up to four months are left in this. Some hair that is resting falls out after this stage.

This process can be disrupted by diabetes, which will slow down hair growth. It’s also possible for diabetes to cause you to lose more hair than normal.

It’s not just your head that is affected by hair loss. Hair loss is a common occurrence on the arms, legs, and other body parts. The hair grows back, but it does so more slowly than it usually does.

Alopecia areata is a disorder that is more common in people with type 1 diabetes. The immune system targets the hair follicles in alopecia areata, causing patches of hair loss on the head and other body parts.

How Can You Prevent Hair Loss Caused By Diabetes?

Hair loss can be a potential complication of diabetes. While it’s not always possible to prevent hair loss caused by diabetes entirely, there are several steps you can take to minimize the risk: 

1. Keep your blood sugar levels under control

Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is crucial for managing diabetes. This can help reduce the risk of complications, including hair loss.

2. Follow a balanced diet

A healthy diet rich in essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, can promote hair health. Include foods that are good sources of vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex, as well as minerals like zinc and iron. 

3. Manage stress 

Stress can contribute to hair loss, so finding healthy ways to manage stress levels is important. Engaging in activities such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies can help reduce stress and promote overall well-being. 

4. Avoid tight hairstyles and harsh treatments

Excessive pulling or tension on the hair from tight hairstyles or harsh chemical treatments can contribute to hair loss. Opt for looser hairstyles and be mindful when using heat styling tools or chemical treatments. 

5. Practice good scalp hygiene

Keeping your scalp clean and healthy is essential for hair growth. Regularly wash your hair with a gentle shampoo and avoid frequent use of harsh chemicals or styling products that can damage the hair. 

6. Consult with a healthcare professional 

If you’re experiencing hair loss related to diabetes, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider. They can assess your specific situation, provide guidance, and suggest appropriate treatments or lifestyle modifications. Remember, everyone’s experience with hair loss may vary, and it’s essential to seek professional guidance for personalized advice and care.

If you’re experiencing any troubling symptoms of diabetes, such as hair loss, consult your doctor. It’s particularly crucial to report hair loss on your arms and legs as it may indicate inadequate blood flow.

You might need to make changes to your medication, diet, or way of life if managing your diabetes is the cause of your hair loss.

You should experience less hair loss after blood sugar control is improved. You’ll grow back more of the hairs you’ve lost and lose fewer overall.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to read this article on Can Diabetes Cause Hair Loss .

*This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical or dietary advice tailored to individual needs.

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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.


-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being