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December 16, 2001

Other Illnesses

Question from Normal, Illinois, USA:

I am a 24 year old African-American female who has had type 1 diabetes treated with NPH and Regular for nine years, and ever since diagnosis, my hair has been thinning and is slow to grow. I have had difficulties controlling my sugars in the past, and I am wondering if this is the cause of my hair loss. It Is there any advice you can give me about this problem?


From: DTeam Staff

I do not think the control of the sugars is the problem causing the hair loss. The fact that you have type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease, means you may be at risk for an autoimmune problem with your scalp and hair. Just as your body can attack the insulin-producing cells in your body, you can have destruction of the hair follicles in your scalp. I would talk with your doctor about this as there are additional hormonal problems that may be associated with this condition.


[Editor’s comment: Also, you should ask your doctor about getting your thyroid levels checked since hair loss is a common symptom of thyroid disorders, and they are frequently seen concomitantly with diabetes.