A new study conducted by the University of Cardiff has revealed the number of people suffering from Type 2 diabetes in the UK has risen dramatically over the past decade.
The figures were taken from GP service data from the years 1991 to 2014. However, while the number of people developing the condition has risen, the life expectancy of those living with Type 2 diabetes has also increased.
What’s most concerning about the increase in diabetes, is the symptoms that come with it – including hair loss.
Understanding diabetes-related hair loss
While hair loss isn’t a guaranteed symptom of Type 2 diabetes, it’s certainly not uncommon. So, how exactly can the condition lead to hair loss?
There’s more to diabetes than simple changes in blood sugar levels. The condition actually puts a lot of pressure onto the body, causing biological changes. The body finds it difficult to adjust to these changes and they can have a direct impact on the hair growth cycle.
There are two main types of hair loss you can experience as a diabetes sufferer including:
- Diffuse hair loss – An ongoing type of hair loss
- Telogen Effluvium – Resulting in overall thinning of the hair
As well as the biological changes, diabetes also has the potential to alter the blood circulation of the body. This in turn, can lead to and undernourished scalp, causing more hair to fall out.
Providing the diabetes is controlled, telogen effluvium-related hair loss should start to clear up by itself within six months. Until it does, there are numerous treatments available which can help to reduce the effects of the condition. However, if you’re suffering from diffuse hair loss, there currently isn’t a cure available and it does tend to be more permanent. That being said, there are still treatment options you can use to help manage the problem.
Treatments for diabetes-related hair loss
The number one thing you should do if you are suffering from Type 2 diabetes-related hair loss, is to get the underlying problem under control. Once you’ve done that, you can then focus on the best way to minimise the hair loss, or cover it up.
Early treatments you can use if the hair loss is mild, include the topical treatment Minoxidil. This can be applied directly onto the scalp and it typically comes in 2% or 5% strengths. If the hair loss is more severe, or if you’re suffering from diffuse hair loss, a hair transplant may be the best option, as long as you haven’t lost too much hair from the back or sides of the scalp.
Overall, Type 2 diabetes has become much more common in recent years and it does lead to many other potential health worries, including hair loss.