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Question:
My daughter (age 11) was diagnosed with diabetes on Oct. 4 of this year [about two months ago. Ed.]. Needless to say, its been an adjustment for our family. The latest thing is that her hair is coming out. Each time she brushes it, it comes out in the brush. She can run her hand through her hair and pull some out. It doesn't come out in clumps, just many strands. Is this a complication of her diabetes, or something else? Should I be worried? At her age, she is concerned that she will go bald.

Answer:
Hair loss soon after diagnosis of diabetes could be any one of a number of things:

  1. Make sure that lab tests to check the thyroid gland for underactivity or overactivity have been done. The tests should include at least two names: a TSH, and either a T4 or free T4. If any of these tests are abnormal, more testing should be done.

  2. The hair loss may be perfectly normal, and you may just be much more tuned in on your daughter's health status than you would have been otherwise. It's a very normal reaction for a parent to get extra-worried soon after a major diagnosis such as diabetes.

  3. Although you won't find it in the diabetes textbooks, the hair loss may be a temporary response of the hair follicles to all the metabolic changes that your daughter has been through.

Please reassure your daughter that we think this is only a temporary problem, and we expect full recovery.

Original posting 29 Nov 95

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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