Diabetes and Hair Loss?
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on May 21, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
One of our Facebook fans had a question about diabetes (type 2), and whether it can cause hair loss. Indeed, yes; hair loss may actually be one of the first signs of diabetes.
Hair loss associated with diabetes occurs due to the poor circulation that this condition causes; diminished circulation slows the body’s recovery rate, overall, including the rate of regrowth of hair. The result? Hair loss or thinning hair.
Medications prescribed to help manage diabetes can also cause the hair to thin and fall out, lending insult to injury. Added to this is the hair loss that can result from stress caused by having chronic diabetes. (Talk about a merry-go-round, without the “merry” part!)
Diabetes affects other hormones in the body besides insulin; for example, cortisol from the adrenal glands. This, in turn, can affect the thyroid and its hormones, leading to hypothyroid. And as we know, hair thinning and loss are common side effects of an underfunctioning thyroid.
Diabetics are also more prone to infections because of poor circulation and an underfunctioning immune system. Fungal infections of the scalp (more hair loss!) can occur because of this decreased immunity.
Uncontrolled diabetes causes serious health concerns: the #1 reason for kidney transplants is diabetes-induced kidney failure. It’s extremely important that this condition be detected as early as possible (better yet, prevented in the first place) and effectively managed.
Developing healthy dietary habits that provide a steady, balanced release of glucose into the bloodstream is critical. Ensuring optimal amounts of carbohydrates, fats, protein, and essential nutrients such as magnesium, chromium, zinc, and selenium, will go far in helping to manage this condition effectively, as will a regular exercise program, such as walking several times a week for 40-60 minutes.
Ideally, work with your doctor and a qualified holistic healthcare practitioner to create a program tailored for you. It’s the best approach to preventing or remedying hair loss due to diabetes!
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan