Can diabetes cause hair loss?

Stress Induced Hair Loss? Know How to Prevent it

People suffering from diabetes can face a range of health issues, hair loss being one of them.Although hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors such as stress, hormonal imbalance, underlying medical conditions,hair loss due to elevated sugar levels in people remains very common around the world.

Some people may confuse natural hair loss due to regrowth cycle with a developing hair loss condition. So, it is best that you refrain from self-diagnosis and consult a hair loss expert to properly evaluate your condition.

Stages of Hair Regrowth cycle:

There are basically three phases of a hair growth cycle:

Anagen Phase:

The anagen phase is a growth phase of hair follicles which lasts about 3-5 years.

Catagen Phase:

In the Catagen phase,hair follicles start thinning and prepare themselves for the resting phase. A person might notice some hair becoming thin and sparse. This phase is usually over in 1-2 weeks.

Telogen Phase:

Telogen phase is the final phase of hair regrowth cycle, in this phase, you may notice excessive hair shedding which most people confuse with a hair loss condition, but it is completely normal. Old hair is completely replaced with new ones in about 3-4 months and then the whole cycle repeats itself.

Diabetes effect on the body and Autoimmune disease

Hair loss in a diabetic person may have a very similar pattern of hair loss as in Telogen phase. But it creates many complications as it progresses. It can affect the whole hair regrowth cycle by:

  • Impairing new hair regrowth
  • Hair may start growing more than usual
  • Completely stop new hair from growing

Diabetes can cause a variety of symptoms but not all of them are responsible for causing hair loss. Here are the most common causes of hair loss in a diabetic patient:

Elevated Blood Sugar levels:

Unstable or high levels of blood sugar can result in damage to organs, tissues and blood vessels. Damaged blood vessels can restrict blood and oxygen flow to certain cells which results in hair loss due to limited nutrient supply to hair follicles.

Hormonal Imbalance:

As being diabetic is both emotionally and physically stressful, it can drastically increase or decrease hormone production causing an imbalance, which results in hair loss or excessive hair growth.

Alopecia Areata due to AA:

Alopecia, due to autoimmune disorders, is very common in people with diabetes. Especially people with type 1 diabetes are more prone to Alopecia Areata.

In Alopecia Areata, our own immune system attacks our healthy hair follicles mistaking them as foreign bodies. It is not yet known,what causes the immune system to act this way.

People with alopecia may notice a sudden formation of round hair loss patch which can occur anywhere on the body, leaving behind a smooth patch of exposed skin as if hair never grew there. In most cases of Alopecia Areata, hair usually regrows within 2-6months.

Hair loss treatment for Diabetic Patients:

The primary causes of hair loss in diabetic patients are hormonal imbalance, elevated stress, and uncontrollable sugar levels. Using medications or lifestyle changes may help control or reverse the effects of hair loss. A lot of medications are available for hair loss nowadays, but there results may be short lived. Some of those medications are:

  • Topical Minoxidil
  • Finasteride (Propecia)
  • Immunosuppressants/Steriod Injections
  • Biotin

Why hair transplants are not effective for people with Alopecia Areata

The hair transplant treatments are only effective for people who suffer from genetic hair loss or Androgenic alopecia because it has a distinct and predictable pattern. Whereas alopecia areata has a very uncertain pattern and progressions of further development of this condition cannot be calculated, so hair transplants are not a viable option.

Although exercise is not a sure way to reverse hair loss, it can help you maintain good blood circulation throughout the body, including hair follicles. A well balanced diet with a healthy lifestyle and proper exercise can help a person control their sugar levels.

Regular checkups with a doctor are a must for a diabetic person. Individuals which such condition can also ask their doctor for recommendations on how to stop or reduce hair loss.  

Consultation with trichologist:

If you are living in UAE and suffering from a similar condition. You can always visit Hair Transplant Dubai Clinic to get your condition properly evaluated. We have a board certified team of doctors that can diagnose and treat your hair loss condition effectively.


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Written By: Dr. Cagatay Sezgin

Dr. Cagatay Sezgin is a celebrity hair transplant surgeon with over 20 years of experience in hair transplantation and restoration. He is the First Turkish Board Surgeon to become a member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) and the Asian Association of Hair Transplant Surgeons (AAHRS). Moreover, he has the honor of becoming the first hair transplant surgeon in the world to perform hair, eyebrow, and beard transplantation all in one case and that too in a single session.

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