Heredity, nutritional deficiencies, environmental pollution, hormonal abnormalities – there are more than one factors responsible for hair loss. But have you ever got your blood sugar checked just to know whether it is linked to your severe hair fall? Shocked? Well, if hair loss has turned out to be your biggest concern, chances are big that you have developed diabetes. According to the latest National Diabetes Statistics Report, almost 24% of diabetics are unaware of their conditions, which is enough to realize why the disease has not been widely recognized as a cause of hair loss. Let’s throw some light on it:
Know About Diabetes
Diabetes is a common metabolic disorder in which the levels of sugar in our bloodstream go very high. It is a lifelong health condition and almost 371 million people around the world are affected by it. Diabetes can mainly be of the following two types:
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- Type-1 Diabetes: Primarily seen in people under 40 years (young adults and even kids), type-1 diabetes (also called ‘insulin-dependent diabetes’ / ‘juvenile diabetes’) is an auto-immune disease that can be managed through blood sugar monitoring and insulin injections rather than curing completely. In this condition, the immune system of the patient itself destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, thereby preventing the functions of the natural blood sugar-regulating system of the body.
- Type-2 Diabetes: Unlike the previous one, type-2 diabetes usually occurs after 40 years when sufficient insulin is not produced by the pancreas for proper management of blood sugar levels, or the body cells turn totally resistant to the hormone, or even abdominal fat deposits interfere with the metabolic as well as cardiovascular functionalities of the body by releasing certain chemicals. However, this condition can be successfully prevented, managed, and sometimes even reversed by following a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight.
As said above, the hormone insulin is the key to proper glucose metabolism in our body. When it doesn’t work efficiently or isn’t produced enough, we develop diabetes which can again trigger temporary hair loss.
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How Does Diabetes Affect Hair Growth?
Both type-1 and type-2 diabetes can cause hair thinning, which leads to severe hair loss over time. Even though the reasons and ways it affects our hair growth are complicated and scientists are still working on it, we have listed down the summary of all the potential factors that establish a link between diabetes and hair loss:
- Diabetes disrupts our blood circulation and causes poor blood flow to the scalp. The high levels of glucose in the bloodstream modify the protein hemoglobin in RBCs into glycosylated hemoglobin through a chemical reaction. This averts RBCs to enter blood capillaries causing the hair follicles to die without the supply of oxygen and nutrients.
- While suffering from diabetes, the high levels of blood sugars can interrupt the normal activities of our endocrine system. As a result, the androgen hormones can’t function properly in our body, which makes our hair follicles go dormant. It also affects the performance of the derivative of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is also linked to widespread hair loss.
- The natural immune system of our body gets affected during diabetes as the blood sugar levels go significantly high. It makes us prone to infections and our body becomes unable to combat it. It also causes various autoimmune disorders in which the immune system fails to recognize the insulin-producing tissues in the pancreas as healthy tissues and ends up attacking them accidentally. Consequently, the insulin production goes low and the hair shafts start to fall out.
- Our body goes through sheer physical and emotional stress during diabetes, which can disturb our natural hair growth cycle and trigger hair loss.
- While following a healthy diet chart and daily workout routine during diabetes, you might experience a rapid weight loss. This sometimes results in temporary hair loss.
- There are also certain diabetes medications that are known to make our hair strands fall out.
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What Measures Can Be Taken?
Now as you know how diabetes can affect the health and growth of your hair, it is time to learn how all these adverse effects can be averted. Here is a list of preventive measures that should be taken to keep your hair long and strong even while suffering from diabetes:
- Consult your doctor to confirm that all your hair problems are actually related to diabetes.
- Make sure that your diet chart includes plenty of hair-friendly foods.
- Work out a lot as it will keep your blood sugar normal and increase the supply of oxygen as well as nutrients to your hair follicles.
- Try to keep your mental and emotional stress under control.
- Start using biotin supplements or minoxidil under your physician’s supervision.
Last but not the least; do not lose your self-confidence even though the situation becomes extremely stressful to deal with. Hair loss or stopped hair growth related to diabetes is a temporary problem and you will certainly get out of it over time.