It has been established that there are clear links between androgenetic alopecia, (male and female pattern hair loss), metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. Those with diabetes or even pre-diabetic conditions are much more likely to have pattern loss or a diffuse thinning that often accompanies the disorder. In a nutshell, insulin resistance and the resultant pro-inflammatory prostaglandin production, either due to lifestyle, diet or genetics, causes a micro circulatory impairment and collagen rigidification around the hair follicle (fibrosis).
Here’s a succinct, well written, ezine article by Mike Harman on diabetes and its relationship to hair loss:
Diabetes and Hairloss
“The connection between diabetes and hair loss was established long ago.
Diabetes is a hormone related disorder that often leads to hair loss or thinning of the hair.
Frequent loss of hair is often considered one of the early symptoms of diabetes, which requires prompt treatment in order to avoid further complications. The growth of hair is affected by diabetes, which gradually leads to thinning of hair.
Stress is directly related to diabetes and hair loss, as the disease causes excessive anxiety, which in turn becomes the prime cause of hair loss.
Diabetes Leads To Hair Loss:
Diabetes occurs when it becomes difficult for the body to metabolize carbohydrates properly. Diabetics are highly sensitive to skin ailments, as their blood circulation and blood sugar levels are impaired.
Bruises and small wounds often take a relatively long time to heal; therefore, the recovery rate is comparatively slower and obstructs the re-growth of hair.
This causes visible hair reduction, as diabetics cannot maintain the normal cycle of re-growth process. Bacterial and fungal infections on the scalp because of diabetes could also result in hair loss, thereby making diabetes and hair loss inter-related.
Normally, a healthy person would lose around fifty to hundred strands of hair every day. Therefore, if hair loss increases rapidly, you could require medical assistance, since untreated diabetes can escalate hair loss further.
Diabetes often leads to diffused hair growth that could be a result of medical stress or side effects of certain prescribed medicines to diabetics. It usually depends on the individual’s body, as each person responds differently to specific medications. The stress caused by chronic diabetes reduces the growth of hair.
After a period of seven to eight months, hair follicles undergo a resting period and are gradually replaced with the growth of new hair. The replaced strands push the old hair to the surface of the scalp, and the hair falls out, this is known as telogen effluvium.
An autoimmune problem:
The other cause of hair loss due to diabetes is an autoimmune problem, which leads to one or more small bald patches developing on the scalp. This ailment is called alopecia areata.
Other additional autoimmune problems like a dysfunctional thyroid gland, the skin rash vitiligo, pernicious anemia, or Type 1 diabetes, often accompanies it.
Generally, Type 2 diabetes occurs when a hormonal imbalance causes polycystic ovary syndrome. Both the conditions are related to insulin resistance, which refers to the reduced ability of cells in the body to react to insulin.
Early detection and monitoring:
Diabetes often remains undetected because the symptoms at the early stage are not considered significant.
This is a major problem because early detection could slow down its harmful effects. Some of the symptoms of diabetes could be blurred vision, frequent urination, acute hunger, increased thirst, unusual weight loss, fatigue and unnecessary irritation.
Early detection of any of these symptoms, and early treatment could help in early recovery from both diabetes as well as excessive hair loss.
Careful monitoring of blood sugar levels provides relevant information that helps maintain control, which would consequently delay the development of various long-term complications.
Some of these long-term complications of diabetes could be the damage of blood vessels and nerves, loss of functioning of the kidneys, loss of sensation, heart disease and strokes.
Hair loss normally begins at the onset of diabetes and gradually becomes worse after the disease takes charge of the body.
It is very important to get the hair loss symptom diagnosed, to know the root cause of hair fall.
You need to seek a qualified doctor’s advice, so that you can avoid further problems, and to desist from using hair lotions and conditioners, which will not help to solve the problem.”
Comment: The not so grim news in all this is that even if you are diagnosed or genetically predisposed, you can manage your symptoms avoid the hair loss effects of diabetes by simply using a potent dose of Green Tea Extract. A recent article, which was just published by The European Association for the study of diabetes, showed Green Tea to be as potent as the drug Avandia,
Diabetes: Try green tea instead
Published on Saturday, September 29, 2007 by Healthy News Service
If you suffer from diabetes, drink plenty of green tea every day. It’s just as effective – and far safer – than the world’s leading anti-diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone), which also increases the risk of heart attack by 43 per cent.
The tea contains an antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is as effective as Avandia in those with moderate diabetes.
It’s been tested against Avandia on a group of mice with diabetes, and the mice that were fed EGCG were just as able to tolerate sugar and produce insulin as the mice given Avandia. At the end of the 10-week trial, the green tea extract preserved insulin-producing tissue and gave other protective effects in the pancreas.
The new study, prepared by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, confirms what we’ve known for a long time. Green tea was first mooted as a successful treatment for diabetes 70 years ago, and recent studies among humans have found that the more green tea you drink, the better. The most powerful benefits have been among people who drink up to six cups of the tea every day.
(Source: European Association for the Study of Diabetes, Amsterdam, 19 September 2007).
Add this to the list of other known mechanisms by which Green Tea Extract prevents and treats hair loss, i.e. regulation of SHBG, Aromatase and TGF-b inhibition, and reduction in DHT, and it becomes apparent that everyone with any concerns about thinning hair would be crazy not to use it.