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April 4, 2000

Other Illnesses

Question from Michigan, USA:

My daughter is 13 and was diagnosed two months ago with Type 1 Diabetes. She is on 3 shots per day and for the past four weeks her hair has been falling out. She has quite thick hair but I'm afraid if this continues, she will not have much left. Her doctor had her thyroid checked and it was okay. When first diagnosed, her electrolytes were way out of line and her doctor thinks the hair loss may be because of how sick she was. Do you think this is the case or is there something else that may be causing this?

Answer:

Hair loss per se is not a feature of diabetes. Your doctor was correct to check her thyroid levels as either an overactive thyroid or underactive thyroid can cause hair loss. Thyroid problems are more common in children with diabetes. An autoimmune skin problem called alopecia is also more common in children with diabetes. This condition can cause unexplained hair loss. You should also consider other causes of hair loss such as infections on the scalp and sensitivity to shampoos. If you have not already seen a dermatologist, I would suggest that you do so.

TGL