Diabetes and hair loss?

My teen son was diagnosed in November. He has always had insanely, ridiculously thick hair. Beginning around December he has started shedding a lot. I make him brush it a couple of times a day to try and keep my home from being covered in hair. I have done some online research about this and of course one thing says there might be a correlation, another site only mentions certain diabetic medication‘s can cause this….it’s all over the map. He’s not on anything other than insulin. His blood sugar has been completely under control since diagnosis. Has anyone else experienced this? I’m going to speak to his Endo at his next appointment about it, but I obviously really value the feedback of those who may have actual experience with this.
He doesn’t have bald spots or anything crazy like that, although personally I can visibly see that his hair is much thinner (his hair is around shoulder length).
So I guess I’m just curious if anyone knows if this may be a known issue that some may deal with after diagnosis?

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Hi @SarahSMS . I don’t know if you’ve checked yet but there were some discussions on the forum on this same topic. I think stress of the diagnosis was the most common reason but there may be others. But keep your options open - you might check with a dermatologist to see if there are any skin conditions, as well as you PCP and endo.
https://forum.breakthrought1d.org/search?q=Hair%20loss%20

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Sarah @SarahSMS, you are correct in thoughts about hair loss cover a wide spectrum - I have not seen any definitive study even though many PwD, especially newly diagnosed notice this. Your son fits the “newly diagnosed” category and his thinning may be a holdover from prior to using insulin for management.

As Dorie mentioned there are a couple of “hair” Topics in the archive here. I understand that clinicians have used thinning hair in the young, and “clumps” of hair that fall out as symptoms in diabetes diagnosis. Personally, my hair is notoriously thick but our son who doesn’t have, or show any symptoms, diabetes has no hair on his head - at age 20 his hair was barely hid his scalp - heredity through my wife, apparently.

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T1D is an autoimmune condition. Your own immune system mistakenly targets your insulin-producing cells.

Alopecia is another autoimmune condition. Your immune system mistakenly blocks off your hair follicles, resulting in hair loss.

I don’t know of an established link between the two, but I can tell you that I was diagnosed with alopecia in grade school, autoimmune diabetes and autoimmune hypothyroidism when I was 12, and an autoimmune neurological disorder a few years later. It’s not that one causes the other, or that any medication does. But sometimes when you have an immune system that’s inclined to target your own cells, it can do so with more than one kind of cell. People with one kind of autoimmune disorder are more likely to develop another.

That’s not necessarily what’s happening with your son, but it’s possible.

You can ask your endocrinologist, but it might be worth checking with a dermatologist and an immunologist.

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I had the same thing happen to me after being diagnosed with T1D and I’ve talked to other T1D’s who also lost lots of hair in the months following diagnosis- to me it seems like a pretty common (but alarming!) side effect of the trauma that our bodies go through when diagnosed.
My hair has always been thick, and it got a lot thinner post diagnosis (no one besides me and my mom noticed). After a few months the hair loss stopped and in the three years since then my hair has grown back with no issues.
Good luck to you and your son! I hope you’re doing well- the first year feels like an insane roller coaster.

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Hi Sarah @SarahSMS

I agree with Lise @6yGodsGr I was diagnosed three years ago and lost half my hair in the months that followed. My doctor said it was because of the immense amount of stress my body was under. It grew back- this time with curls!

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I really appreciate all of the feedback from everyone. It certainly makes me feel better about it hearing from all of you with firsthand experience.

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Have they done thyroid labs?

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I had significant hair loss for months prior to my diagnosis. In fact, along with weight loss, it was the main symptom that made me know something must be wrong. I read that hair loss can be correlated w/ uncontrolled blood sugar, along w/ weight loss of course, so I asked to get glucose checked, that’s when I found out about the T1D. My hair loss did stop after about six months from the time I got my blood sugar under control, then it started falling out again, not at the same rate, but more than it used to. It sort of grew back a little. I used to have this super thick, red wavy hair everyone would comment on all the time. I was surprised how much it hurt emotionally and depressed me when it fell out, and everyday I notice it and am depressed about it. The texture is also thinner and more wispy. I’m only 35! It aged so much in just a few months, and yes, given its correlations w/ blood sugar control and from what I’ve read, I attribute it primarily to the diabetes. I hope your son has it better! I’ve read that others’ hair really does grow back to normal levels after controlling glucose–hopefully that’s true in his case. I empathize.

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Hi Sarah,

When my daughter was first diagnosed, she also experienced some hair shedding which we were quite worried about. It stopped after about 6 months and her hair is absolutely fine.

I did read somewhere that it can be caused by the shock of moving from uncontrolled blood sugar back to a controlled status.

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I believe they did in the hospital. But I’ll have to check his chart to verify.

Type 1 for well over fifty years. No hair loss. (I’m 75 and still very healthy, and oddity perhaps, and I fight for excellent control every moment of every day and night)

There are many products available for the slowing or prevention of hair loss. I would blame it more on heredity.

Jim

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Type 1 since 1981 my teens and no significant hair loss, nor do I know anyone that has had it which may mean a temporary issue mostly dealing with charges in the body and the stress. I recommend a natural stress reliever and Costco also sells gummy hair, nail and skin vitamins that won’t hurt.

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I personally continue to use Biotin 10,000 mcg taken at bedtime. Your results may vary but helps me.

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That’s interesting. I was diagnosed 11 months ago. For several months BEFORE my diagnosis I was losing hair like crazy. Long strands and a lot. It was all over. It was hard for me to even cook because I feared hair would be in the food.
Since diagnosis and insulin treatment it has stopped. It seems somewhat coincidental. I had DKA since I didn’t know I was diabetic and had many complications. I assumed the stress on my body caused it.
I’ll be interested to hear if you get any explanation
Good luck. Sending best wishes for many good days ahead

I’ve always had very thick hair and therefore shed a lot since you lose a percentage every day, but for about 6 months before my diagnosis, the hair loss got very extreme. It looked like there was a small animal caught in the shower drain! I think it was due to the high BG. After diagnosis and bringing BG down, the loss slowed and is now back to normal. But it took about a year to feel like my hair was healthy again.