More Aggressive Treatment Options
Injections of immunosuppressive drugs: Injections of corticosteroids by a board certified dermatologist can help decrease the autoimmune attacks and slow down hair from falling out, explained Dr. Madan, but again, this will only help if the cause of your hair loss is indeed related to your immune system attacking the cells on your scalp.
Platelet Rich Plasma blood-draws: PRP treatments are the newest treatment available for hair loss, Dr. Madan added. Basically, a patients blood is drawn and spun down. The platelet rich plasma is then extracted. It contains growth factors which can help stimulate the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles.
Hair transplants or follicle transplants: While this may seem like the ideal permanent treatment, its not only expensive, its simply the appropriate treatment for some patients.
Hair transplants or follicle transplants may not be a long-term fix, explained Dr. Madan. Since blood vessels can be damaged by persistent high blood sugar levels, the blood vessels may not be able to support the follicles after a transplant which can lead to a failed transplant.
In other words: dont go this route unless youve ruled out issues like hypothyroidism or alopecia, and when youre ready and willing to improve your overall diabetes management, including your nutrition and exercise, too!
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Does Diabetes Medication Cause Hair Loss
Some medicines that you take to treat your diabetes may also be causing hair loss as a side effect. The drugs interfere with the normal cycle of scalp hair growth, leading to hair thinning.
In May 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration found an unacceptable level of a known carcinogen – N-Nitrosodimethylamine – in Metformin, a prescription drug used to control high blood sugar in patients with Type 2 diabetes .
Research suggests long-term use of Metformin to treat diabetes could have adverse impacts such as a Vitamin B12 deficiency, one potential symptom of which is hair loss .
According to a case report published in Current Drug Safety in 2017, a 69-year-old man diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes who was being treated with a fixed dose combination of Metformin and another medication commonly prescribed by doctors Sitagliptin, developed sudden loss of eyebrows and eyelashes, thus indicating a possible association between the drug and the reaction .
Acne medications, certain antibiotics, cholesterol lowering drugs, epilepsy drugs, thyroid medication, mood stabilizers and antidepressants, anticoagulants or blood thinners, chemotherapy medication and immunosuppressants prescribed to those with a certain type of cancer may result in hair loss.
If youve been experiencing sudden and unusual hair loss, it is highly recommended that you speak to a doctor to identify the root cause.
How Much Does 30 Units Of Humalog Insulin Decrease Your Blood Sugar Levels
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Hair Loss & Diabetes: How Are They Related
Diabetes is a condition that is prevalent in modern society due to frequent stress, sedentary lifestyles, and poor diets. But is this disease linked to hair loss?
People who have type 2 diabetes often have issues with the blood vessels, the organs of the body, and the circulatory system. This can prevent sufficient amounts of oxygen and nutrients from reaching the extremities of the body, including the scalp. If this is the case, it is possible for there to be issues with hair growth.
Regrow Hair With Diabetes
The number one priority when regrowing hair with diabetes is eliminating problematic foods and becoming more active. Taking these steps allows you to take more control over your blood sugar levels with smaller doses of medications.
Although this approach can prevent your hair loss from worsening, your hair follicles may need a boost to become active again.
Dr. Maag has experience with a large number of hair restoration treatments, including medications, topicals, low-laser treatment, platelet-rich plasma injections, and hair transplantation. Schedule an appointment with him to find out how you can get your hair back.
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Are Tomatoes Okay For Diabetics
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Is There A Supplement To Lower Blood Sugar
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Can Diabetes Hair Loss Be Reversed
In some cases, hair loss is reversible. The use of treatments allows not only to delay or stop the loss of hair in diabetics but also to stimulate its growth.
However, the effects of medications or topicals should not be overestimated. If people with diabetes do not control their blood sugar levels and do not follow a proper diet plan, they will likely develop baldness.
Too much sugar in the blood can damage body tissues, including blood vessels. Damaged blood vessels cannot carry enough oxygen to nourish the hair follicles. Ultimately, this can lead to hair loss.
If the hair loss is related to the control of diabetes, you should first adjust your lifestyle, medications, and diet. In the case of type 2 diabetics, the most important thing is to distribute the number of carbohydrate foods throughout the day.
Can Diabetes Cause Hair Loss
You have been experiencing any number of symptoms related to your diabetes, and now you notice that your hair seems to be falling out. Is hair loss yet another symptom of diabetes?
Diabetes can disrupt natural cycles within your body, including the processes of hair growth. Prolonged hyperglycemia damages small blood vessels that deliver oxygen to various parts of your body, including hair follicles. This disruption may lead to unnaturally accelerated hair loss.
Continue reading to learn more about how hair grows, how diabetes can alter that growth process, and possible treatments to help treat or reverse your loss of hair.
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Alopecia The Hair Loss Disorder
If the hair loss is abnormally high, its possible youve developed a condition called alopecia areata.
Alopecia is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks the hair follicles. As a result, their usual growth cycle is affected.
This diabetes hair loss condition is quite common in women who are aged 45+ years.
The Three Phases Of Hair Growth
It’s understandable that many people think hair follicles constantly work to produce more hair, but there are actually three different phases within the hair growth cycle.
Anagen phase: The cells within the root of your hair divide at a fast rate, producing new hair. This new hair pushes out the old hair that is currently in the follicle where the new hair is growing, which eventually causes the old hair to fall out.
Throughout the anagen phase, hair tends to grow approximately one centimeter every four weeks. Generally, scalp hair maintains its anagen phase for two to six years at a time.
Catagen phase: This is a transitional phase, as it only lasts between two to three weeks at a time. During this phase, the hair stops growing, and the root of the hair begins to shrink. By the end of this phase, a club hair is formed, which means it is no longer actively growing, but stays anchored to the follicle.
Telogen phase: In the scalp, the resting phase typically lasts approximately 100 days, and the hair follicle is not growing at all. Hair that is in the telogen phase usually has a white clump attached to the end if pulled from the scalp. People typically lose under 100 telogen hairs a day as about 10% of the scalp hair is in this phase at any time.
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Monitor Blood Sugar Levels
Keeping a check on your blood sugar levels regularly and being prepared is one of the most effective ways to prevent development of any diabetes related complications, including hair thinning and hair loss.
You could do this by purchasing a continuous glucose monitor. You could also consider taking the A1C test, a simple blood test commonly used to obtain average blood sugar levels for the past two to three months. In addition to being a critical step towards creating a treatment plan to manage diabetes, the A1 test can also identify prediabetes.
The test result usually comes in the form of percentages. According to the American Diabetes Association, if your A1C level is between 5.5 % and 6.5 %, your levels have been in the prediabetes range and if your A1C level is 6.5 % or higher, your levels were in the diabetic range .
Injections Of Immunosuppressive Drugs Or Corticosteroids
Corticosteroids and immunosuppressant drugs, such as methotrexate and cyclosporine, are sometimes used to treat alopecia areata . These medications are directly injected into the balding or thinning area to stop inflammation, which, in turn, may promote hair regrowth. The injections may need to be administered every 4 to 8 weeks or more often.
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Understanding The Types Of Diabetes
There are two types of diabetestype 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas stops producing insulin. It usually develops in children and young adults and requires lifelong treatment with insulin injections.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It develops when the body cant use insulin properly, either because the pancreas doesnt make enough insulin, or the body is resistant to the effects of insulin.
Many people with type 2 diabetes can manage their condition with diet, exercise, and oral medications. However, some people with type 2 diabetes eventually need to take insulin injections to control their blood sugar levels.
Seek Professional Help For Hair Regrowth
Most women go for laser therapy or medications prescribed by dermatologists to regrow the hair.
Some professionals recommend hair lotions and topical sprays. Others give vitamin supplements to grow back the lost hair.
You can also go for surgical options such as hair transplant or scalp surgery to initiate hair regrowth.
If the diabetic hair loss is permanent or beyond repair, no worries. You can always get a sleek wig and rock a totally new style!
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Your A1c And Blood Sugar Management
First and foremost, improving your blood sugar levels is critical. Following the American Diabetes Associations recommendations of an HbA1c at or below 7 percent will improve the health of your entire body and prevent further development of any diabetes complications, including hair loss.
For patients able to be more aggressive about blood sugar management, an A1c under 6.5 percent is going to have an even greater impact on preventing damage to small and large blood vessels.
An A1c of 7 percent is an average blood sugar level of 154 mg/dL.
Each patient should consider with their healthcare team what is a realistically appropriate goal for them. Patients with hypoglycemia unawareness, for example, may find that aiming for an A1c under 6.5 percent increases their risk of low blood sugars too much, and isnt sustainable or safe.
Patients who struggle to stay in their goal blood sugar range without frequent low blood sugars would have a good reason to keep their A1c closer to 7 percent rather than 6.5 for the sake of safety.
Remember, improving your blood sugar levels and A1c isnt just about correcting high blood sugars more often, but on preventing them first through a combination of increasing medication doses, reducing the processed food in your diet, getting more exercise, and increasing the amount of whole, real food in your diet.
- For tips on improving your nutrition, read DiabetesStrongs No-Carb, Low-Carb, or Moderate Carb: Which is Best for Diabetes?
Can The Type Of Diabetes Affect Hair Loss
Now that you know diabetes causes hair loss, you might be wondering
Is theres a relationship between the type of diabetes and the hair loss process?
Well, most studies show that alopecia affects type 1 diabetics only.
Just like alopecia, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune blood glucose disorder. It causes your bodys immune system to attack the pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin.
Therefore, it makes sense that type 1 diabetes leads to hair loss.
So what about type 2 diabetes?
Although theres a shortage of data that links natural hair loss to diabetes type 2, I did come across an interesting article in JAMA Dermatology.
In this 2013 study, scientists discovered many deceased diabetic women aged < 60 years with mild alopecia. However, this condition was more common and severe in 70+ years old women.
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The Bottom Line On Metformin And Hair Loss
There are no current scientific indications that metformin causes hair loss. However, we know the disease that metformin treats type 2 diabetes is associated with hair loss.
In fact, hair loss may be an early warning sign of type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
Fortunately, there are some viable solutions to potentially slow or stop the hair loss you might be experiencing.
Talking with a healthcare provider about your condition and which treatment option might be right for you is a good first step.
Do not discontinue the use of metformin without speaking to your healthcare provider.
Important Factors To Note About Diabetes And Hair Loss
Self-management is required on a regular basis, and it may be exhausting to deal with diabetes not only mentally but physically. Adding hair loss to your medical diagnosis may seem daunting, but rest assured that there are methods for slowing down hair loss, preventing it, and stimulating hair growth to help you feel better.
You should consult with a licensed dietitian or a certified diabetes care and hair loss expert if you are having difficulty managing your diabetes and maintaining your blood sugars within the normal range. These specialists can assist you with education and also assist you in overcoming these concerns and difficulties.
Even little modifications in food, physical health, and behavior, such as increasing physical activity, may have a significant impact on improving blood glucose management and optimizing nutritional requirements. Diabetic patients who maintain adequate blood glucose control may reduce their risk of developing diabetes complications and can enjoy a full, healthy, and energetic life.
Certain nutrients may be beneficial in the treatment of hair loss and hair regeneration. If you have a true shortfall in one of these nutrients, you may need to take a supplement to compensate. However, most of the time, just increasing the amount of foods high in these nutrients may be good, not only for hair, but also for general health and well-being.
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