Diabetes has some well-known negative effects on the body, such as damaging internal organs and causing an increased susceptibility to infections. What many people may not realize is that high blood sugar levels can also cause hair loss. Here's more information about why this may occur and your options for preventing or treating alopecia.
Poor Circulation May Mean No Hair
When your body cannot make insulin or process it correctly, you will typically experience high blood sugar levels. Although sugar is needed to fuel many internal processes, it can cause significant damage to the body when it winds up in the wrong places. In particular, high blood sugar can damage the veins and lead to poor circulation which, in turn, may make it difficult to supply hair with the oxygen it needs to grow.
As a result, hair on your body in the affected areas may grow at a slower rate or fall out completely. This effect may be compounded by the stress associated with managing a chronic disease as well as any other issues going on in your life.
The most common area affected by diabetic hair loss is the legs. This is because the veins in the legs also have to work against the force of gravity, which further hinders healthy circulation. In fact, sudden hair loss on the legs is a sure sign you're having trouble with the blood flow in your lower limbs. However, you can lose hair anywhere on the body as a result of uncontrolled diabetes, including the arms, head, and pubic area.
Hair Loss Can Be Stopped
Getting your blood sugar levels under control is the first step towards preventing further hair loss. This will help you prevent additional damage to the veins and, consequently, your circulation. Additionally, using exercise as part of your treatment program can be immensely helpful with this issue because it helps improve blood circulation.
Another option is to supplement your diet with biotin. This is a water-soluble vitamin that helps regulate blood sugar levels, assists the body in metabolizing minerals and other vitamins, and is needed to synthesize fatty and amino acids. All of these things can help promote healthy hair growth.
Biotin is found naturally in a number of foods, including sweet potatoes, eggs, onions, and almonds. However, you can also get it in supplement form. The recommended daily amount is 30 mcg for adults.
There are medications you can take that may also promote hair growth. For instance, Propecia is commonly prescribed to men to regrow hair. Minoxidil is another medication that's safe for men and women to use.
If you're losing your hair due to diabetes, contact a dermatologist who can provide solutions to the problem.