Diabetes is a complicated disease that can have widespread consequences on your health.

If you are a diabetics then you are aware of the potential negative effects that diabetes can have on your kidneys, heart, feet, eyes, nerves, and vessels. However, you might not be aware that diabetes might negatively affect your hair.

The connection between diabetes and hair loss:

Diabetes is a disease dealing with not having enough insulin, or lacking a normal sensitivity to insulin. Since insulins job is to gather the glucose in your bloodstream from the food that you eat for use or storage, when insulin is not performing its function correctly, this leads to excessive amounts of glucose (sugar) swirling around in your vessels. Over time, this excess sugar can cause damage to your kidneys, heart, eyes, feet, nerves, and vessels.

This excess sugar can have a negative impact on your hair too, because the growth and health of your hair is actually controlled and maintained by your hair follicles since they need a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients from tiny vessels in your scalp to function properly.

With diabetes, the excess blood sugar can actually damage these small vessels over time, leading to less oxygen and nutrients nourishing your hair follicles.

This kink in the healthy blood supply can lead some to slowed or stopped growth, or a decrease in the health of hair long term. You naturally shed hair every day, and so if these losses are not replaced with healthy regrowth, then you may start to experience thinning hair, bald spots, or a receding hairline over time.

People with diabetes are also more likely to develop an autoimmune hair loss condition called alopecia areata. Alopecia areata occurs when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing them to fall out in clumps. Often, this will lead to patchy hair loss. And, while the lost patches of hair tend to grow back with alopecia areata, hair may be lost again if the condition returns.

Help prevent hair loss when you have diabetes

When you have diabetes, in order to help reduce damage to your hair then it is important to make sure that your condition is very well maintained.

This includes taking all of your medications as prescribed, keeping your A1C within the limits suggested by your doctor, keeping your blood sugar stable, maintaining or achieving a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet.

Aside from making sure that your diabetes is stable, you can also make sure to treat your hair with care to help prevent additional losses. You should try to avoid tight hairstyles, damaging treatments, and bleaches as these things can amplify hair loss. A helpful tip is to try eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods including fruits and vegetables that are appropriate for diabetics may help increase the health of your hair.

You should also condition adding a hair, skin, and nails multivitamin to your daily routine as this might be able to help with the healthy growth of hair for those that struggle to get all of their nutrients through diet. However, be sure to always talk with your doctor before adding a new supplement to your regimen.

What are the treatment options for hair loss for diabetics?

If you are a diabetic experiencing hair loss, there are a few treatment options for you.

Topical formulations containing Minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine), can help improve the blood flow to your scalp and help some people regrow hair. Minoxidil is appropriate for use in men and women, but you need to continue using the treatment in order to maintain any hair regrowth.

Finasteride or off-label Dutasteride are popular hair loss prescriptions for men who are dealing with hair loss. These medications aim to reduce the levels of DHT in your scalp, which is a known culprit of male pattern hair loss. Finasteride or Dutasteride may help you maintain your current hair or help you regrow some of your lost hair.

These medications are prescription-only, so you will need to talk with a doctor in person or through a telemedicine visit to see if this treatment is appropriate for you. These medications are most commonly used in tablet or capsule form and taken daily, but you may also be able to find compounded topically applied gels, creams, or solutions from compounding pharmacies. As with Minoxidil, Finasteride or Dutasteride need to be continued to maintain the regrowth.

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