Today, diabetes is a very common disease; Types 1 and 2 are the most common. The way symptoms appear between the two kinds; however, both types of diabetes occur as a consequence of an irregular metabolism of glucose. Glucose is an important molecule, used to obtain energy to carry out the normal functions of the organism.
A fully functioning glucose metabolism is of paramount importance to sustain crucial tasks such as brain functioning, to simpler ones such as hair growth; Glucose is everywhere! So how does diabetes affect our hair? Many pre-diabetics and diabetics experience hair loss. In the next few lines, we will better understand what hair loss is, how diabetes influences it and, more importantly, how to keep your appearance healthy.
To understand how diabetes affects hair, it is important first to define what hair loss and its causes are. As a general rule, most people lose between 50 and 100 strands of hair each day. Yes; this sounds exaggerated, but we have about 100,000 hairs on our head, so losing 100 a day is not much. That said, when do we say we are losing a lot of hair? In general, you should visit your doctor when you begin to notice hairless areas, loss of volume, hair that becomes fragile or when you see a rash, irritation or have a dry or scaly scalp.
What role does diabetes play in hair loss? Diabetes is a systemic disease and affects every cell in our body. It creates a direct relationship between diabetes and hair loss. Hair grows from the hair follicle, which is the root of each strand of hair. This hair follicle is nourished by the blood vessels that carry the nutrients. Diabetes affects circulation; thus, when there is poor control of blood sugar levels, the circulatory system is affected, and this results in hair loss because the blood is not able to carry the necessary nutrients to the hair follicle for healthy hair growth. Eventually, the hair follicle dies due to lack of proper circulation and baldness appears.
Another way in which diabetes is related to hair loss is through malnutrition. When blood sugar levels are out of control, the body functions as if it were dying of hunger. Whether with high or low blood sugar, our cells do not receive glucose in concentrations adequate to carry out the normal functions of the body. Even when hair is vital to our self-esteem, when our body needs to choose between feeding the hair follicle or brain cells, it will pick the brain cells. Under these conditions, we will have weak hair follicles that will produce fine and brittle hair, which are more likely to be damaged by chemicals or aesthetics. These elements eventually destroy the follicle resulting in baldness.
On the other hand, people with diabetes are more prone to skin infections caused by fungus or bacteria. When we get infected by one of these microorganisms, the hair follicle can be attacked and hair growth can be interrupted. In extreme situations, the hair follicle dies due to infection or medications used to cure fungal or bacterial infection. These events result in hair fall and eventually baldness, once the follicle dies.
It is important to have a high self-image and self-esteem, so if you have diabetes, the best way to keep your hair healthy is to try to have an excellent control of blood sugar levels. By avoiding high or low glucose levels, all of the pathways above through which diabetes causes hair loss can be prevented. Having a healthy vascular system will allow us to maintain a blood flow to all the cells of the organism; the sugars in a good range will allow our body to feed all our cells with the nutrients that each type of cell needs. And finally, when we are in good control of our glucose levels, we give our immune system the ability to fight, more quickly, against infections.
If you want to avoid hair loss, we always suggest using hair dryer with bonnet. It helps to grow natural hair.
Diabetes causes hair loss, but if we keep our sugars under control, we can prevent further damage. Have you experienced hair loss being diabetic? Share your story and comments with us!