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Women's Hair Loss and Diabetes

written by: DulceCorazon • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 8/31/2010

Diabetes hair loss in women may sometimes manifest as a complication of diabetes. Here are some possible reasons why diabetes can lead to hair loss, as well as how it can be prevented or controlled.

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    Overview

    Diabetes is a condition where glucose levels in the bloodstream have increased to more than the normal. When not controlled properly through diet, exercise and medication, it can frequently result in complications such as stroke, hear attack, vascular problems and hair loss or alopecia. Diabetes hair loss in women can be a sign of advancing diabetes stage or can indicate diabetes in an undiagnosed individual.

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    About Hair Loss

    Men, women and children have approximately 100,000 strands of hair on their heads, and it is quite normal to lose roughly 50 to 100 strands per day. When hair loss is excessive, it can be associated with several health conditions including diabetes. It is linked to thyroid problems, poor nutrition, use of certain medications, scalp infections and hormonal changes. Hair pulling and use of chemicals for hair treatments can also lead to excessive hair loss. When hair loss is apparent, affected individuals should consult with their physicians in order to know if it is caused by a specific underlying medical condition. This can also effect early treatment and prevention of further hair loss and other complications.

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    Hair Loss in Diabetics

    Individuals suffering from diabetes may experience stress and anxiety due to their condition. These states of anxiety and stress are often associated with hair loss in diabetes patients.

    Diabetes may also result in the slowing down of hair growth, and in the thinning of each strands. These are also associated with stress, and may be related to a patient's response to medications.

    Diabetes can also affect blood flow in patients. When this happens, flow of blood to certain parts of the body is lessened, thus delivery of oxygen and other nutrients is affected. When circulation in the scalp is poor, hair growth may also be affected.

    Hair loss among women with diabetes is also common because of their fluctuating hormone levels due to diabetes. This is similar to the cases of hair loss during pregnancy and menopause.

    Since the body’s immune system suffers with diabetes, women are also more prone to fungal diseases that may cause hair loss. These fungal diseases include ringworm and other types of bacteria that may result to patchy hair loss. Diabetes also makes it harder for the immune system to react against infections and sores on the scalp and skin, thus, making a woman with diabetes more prone to hair loss.

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    Control

    The good news for women with diabetes is that hair loss can be managed or prevented in those that have already experienced hair loss. This can be done by controlling blood sugar levels through proper diet as instructed by their physicians. Exercise and maintaining ideal weight should also be observed.

    By preventing blood glucose from rising to abnormal levels, diabetes hair loss in women can be lessened. However, medical treatment may also be required for hair loss caused by certain conditions brought about by diabetes' complications. For instance, hair loss caused by fungal infection can only be managed by treatment of the fungal infection. Once these infections are treated, normal hair growth usually resumes.

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    References

    Mayo Clinic: Hair Loss

    FamilyDoctor.org: Hair Loss and its Causes

    The Belgravia Center: Diabetes Can Lead to Hair Loss


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