Many people realize that diabetes, which is a chronic disease, has several effects on a person’s life. Dealing with diabetes and its impacts becomes daily routine by time. But if it starts affecting the person’s physical appearance, it will become more of concern.
Do you know that balding or hair loss is a symptom of diabetes? Losing a small amount of hair daily is very normal, but when this amount gets bigger we start calling it “hair loss”. For most people, hair loss develops before diagnosing diabetes. In most cases, if hair loss was accompanied by other symptoms as frequent urination, mouth drought and feelings of thirst, low energy levels and sight problems, the underlying cause may be high blood sugar levels. But what are the reasons that tie diabetes and hair loss? Let us discover it in the next lines.
One of the ways that diabetes causes hair loss is a result of high blood glucose effect on circulatory system. Diabetes patients have higher sugar blood levels than normal. Sugar or glucose molecules can react with red blood cells resulting glycated hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an important protein in red blood cells, but the new resulting molecule gives red blood cells abnormal shape. The new red cells are not flexible enough to pass through the little blood vessels (capillaries) and they end up blocking them. If this circulatory problem happens in hair bulbs capillaries, they will die and cause hair loss.
Another way of causing hair loss in diabetes is endocrine system imbalances. Endocrine glands produce several hormones that control the body tissues. For example, the endocrine system releases androgens that control hair bulbs growth. Unbalanced diabetes (because of the high sugar blood levels) deregulate the endocrine system, making androgen abnormalities causing the hair bulbs to stay at resting phase. As a result, hair loss will worsen by time. Luckily, if diabetes was controlled (with diet and medications) these hormones will be back to normal again and hair growth will restart.
Diabetes can have indirect effect on hair loss through auto immunity disorders. Autoimmunity disorders happen when immunity system responds against healthy tissues and treat them as an antigen. In case of diabetes, antibodies react against pancreas B cells (producers of insulin) and decrease insulin production. Alopecia aerate is another autoimmune disorder in which immune cells attack hair bulbs and cause hair loss and baldness. People with autoimmune disorders (like diabetes) have higher chances to get other immunity problem.as a result, patients with diabetes history are more likely to have alopecia aerate.