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August 26, 2001

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Question from Lavonia, Georgia, USA:

My 13 year old daughter has had type�1 diabetes for about five years, and, just this past year, has not had good control. In the last month or so, her hair has been falling out. Should I be concerned?

Answer:

Hair loss is common around the time of diagnosis as any acute illness can cause this temporary phenomenon — same as ridges on the nails. However, later hair loss is less usual. Has your daughter got any other skin problems, e.g. pale patches? Alopecia is occasionally associated with diabetes. Tell your team about this symptom so that they can properly assess your daughter and arrange any necessary tests.

KJR

[Editor’s comment: This could represent a thyroid abnormality. If your daughter has not been tested, ask her physician to do so.

SS]