Hair Loss?

I was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on Deceber 17th, 2013. About a month after my diagnosis my hair started falling out! I used to have very very thick hair and now I have super thin hair that continues to fall out. Last month when I went to get my hair cut my stylist asked me where all my hair went. I had blood work for my thyroid and celiac disease completed and everything came back normal. My diabetic educator said that she has never heard of hairloss happening due to diabetes. Does anyone have any experience with this?

I have a big bald spot on the one side of my head that came out of nowhere. I get that I do have trichotillomania (I pull my hair) so it may be confusing to someone who doesn't get that I didn't pull that bald spot I was not even pulling at the time it showed up. My thyroid stuff has come back fine too every time. I'm not sure if it's related to diabetes or something else we don't know about. Since seriously , I did not pull that, it feels like it showed up overnight and the one side of my head is really thin , and the one isn't. I used to have really thick wavey/curly hair too.

I was diagnosed with diabetes and an over active thyroid at the same time and I had lots of hair loss. Not sure if it was the over active thyroid or diabetes that caused it.

Sometimes when we experience a trauma in our health our body responds by shutting down hair growth. Normally, your hair continually regenerates by having your follicle enter dormancy and then restarts with the growth of a new hair. When that regrowth starts, the old hair falls out and a new one starts. But when you have a trauma, you can have this "shock loss" where all or many of your follicles go dormant and then when you get better, they all restart. And it causes sudden hair loss. Does that make sense? It is called hair shock. It can happen in starvation diets and it could happen when you are really really sick with diabetes. If this is what you have, don't worry it will all grow back as thick as it ever was.

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Good answer Brian!!! I always learn something from you!

That happened to me too! No thyroid or other issues at this point. My doctor said it could have been a few factors, stress of diagnosis, body stress and/or rapid weight loss. I didn't think it was stress of diagnosis, more likely a combination of the other factors for me.

It was coming out in clumps in the shower, and my hair is so fine, I was a tad freaked about my appearance. But a couple years later and I have a full head of hair again. I can't remember when it stopped falling out.

That makes complete sense! Thank you!

About six months after I was diagnosed I went to the hairdresser and she asked me if I had been really sick in the past year. She said she could see several months’ worth of new growth in my hair. She held up a large strand and I could see it too. I didn’t even realize I had lost all that hair until then.

The hair on my legs has been dwindling for a while, I forget what the doc was but I look at it as a minor-league complication, better than the legs themselves falling off but still a sort of grim reminder...

I have the same issue. I thought it was from wearing boots, but I do think it is a microvascular complication from diabetes. I am like shaved on my lower legs almost to my knee. Bernstein suggests that it is a common early complication.

Just a minor clarification, IIRC: When I learned about this, it was taught that about 1/3 of your follicles are dormant at any given time. The active cycle is about 2 years (maybe longer, my memory is fuzzy), and then the hair falls out and the follicle goes dormant again for a period (don't remember how long that is, but it's a significant pause, like months or a year).

The interesting thing about this is this is where the limit to one's hair length comes from. Most men don't notice this, but lots of women who grow their hair long find that it "seems" to stop at a certain length -- and this is simply their personal rate of hair growth times the active period of their hair follicles.

Both the growth rate and active period vary from person to person. This is why some people, like Crystal Gale, can grow super long hair, while others are forever frustrated that it will get to the middle of their back, and no longer.

Well, I've heard plenty about numbness, circulation problems and even amputations with legs but... falling off? Man, that would be a bummer of a complication.

Especially during a run!

Did you have a whole panel of thyroid tests, or just TSH? How do you feel your thyroid balance is? Some people with thyroid problems feel that the standard tests are not sufficient for revealing thyroid problems. If you feel like your thyroid is behaving like it always has, then bsc's post about "hair shock" sounds like a really good possibility. If you feel like your thyroid function is different than it was before, in spite of the test results, you might want to research that possibility further.

Best wishes,


Stress maybe. Genetics Yes, Diabetes probably not. T1 59 Years and have more hair than my non diabetic Dad did at my age.

In all my years as a Diabetic that has never been mentioned as a complication, but I learn something new every day.

I have heard that low vitamin D can also cause some hair loss. Maybe both a vitamin D and B12 test could be helpful.

My hair was thinning several years ago and I started taking cod liver oil/fish oil and vitamins. It improved a lot after a few months. I have baby fine, thin hair anyway though. Hair is very much influenced by hormonal issues too, not just falling out, thinning etc. but straightness, curly/wavy etc.

Another thing that may help is not to use traditional shampoos and conditioners or dyes. These damage your hair and dry it out. I now use Wen, no shampoo, and an oil free spray in conditioner. I can blow dry my hair and have no frizziness or dryness. I also use my own chamomile soapwort cleanser occasionally and I switch between the different Wen products. I also use cassia obovata every few weeks to condition and thicken.

I've never heard of that! Really fascinating, Brian. Thanks for the education!

Last August I was really ill and after that my hair started falling out to the point of very thin & wispy with my pink scalp quite visible. By about December it finally started to grow back & fill in, but is really dry hair now. Hope yours eventually fills in again. All the best.

Yes, definitely. I have had this twice, both times after a period of high blood sugar. It did slow down substantially after a couple of months of normal blood sugars.

The same thing happened to me. My hair was falling out before I was diagnosed however I didn't notice until after they told me. My mother (a BC-ADM) told me that your body is effected anywhere you need blood. Your hair follicles need blood, and if you have thick sugar covered blood (which tends to happen right before diagnoses) the blood doesn't get to those sites. That's why your hair falls out. Other weird things happen too like with your digestive system. Anywhere you have small capillaries you will have temporary issues. Your hair will grow back (mine did) no matter what magic shampoo you use. Your digestive system will get back on track. As long as you keep your blood sugar down, you will heal up nice.