Many different factors can cause hair loss and identifying the exact reason, and any underlying factors are the first step towards addressing the issue. While our clients experience thinning hair and hair loss for a variety of reasons, there are links between hair loss and poor health or bad habits. Since obesity is associated with a variety of health risks, it is common for clients to wonder if there is a link between obesity and hair thinning or loss.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is a medical condition that happens when a person has excess weight or body fat that might affect their health. A physician will typically diagnose a patient as being obese if they have a high Body Mass Index (BMI). According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a healthy BMI range is 18.5 to 24.9, while a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI over 30.0 is deemed to be obese, while a BMI of 35 or higher is defined as severe obesity.
Obesity has been identified as being a leading public health concern in the United States, with nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults being considered overweight or obese and 39.8% or about 93.3 million U.S. adults diagnosed as obese.
Research has shown that people who are overweight or obese face increased risks of developing serious health conditions, many of which are also associated with hair loss. Obesity is directly linked to some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Conditions Associated With Obesity and Hair Loss
Being overweight or obese does not directly contribute to thinning hair or hair loss. Still, many of the medical conditions associated with and caused by obesity have the potential also to cause hair loss.
Being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk of a person developing type 2 diabetes, also known as insulin-resistant or adult-onset diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body produces sufficient insulin, but cells become resistant to absorbing it, creating a situation where your blood glucose level is persistently high. Consistently high blood glucose levels can damage blood vessels as well as the nerves that control your heart. Diabetes is a contributing factor for other ailments such as heart disease and stroke, and can also interrupt the hair growth cycle, causing thinning hair and hair loss.
In addition to type 2 diabetes, overweight and obese people have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, both directly and indirectly. Increased body fat can directly contribute to heart disease by causing enlargement of the heart valves as well as atherosclerosis. An increase in body fat indirectly contributes to heart disease by causing medical conditions that increase risk factors for heart disease.
Obesity can change your cholesterol levels, causing spikes in bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels while lowering good HDL cholesterol. Obesity can cause high blood pressure. Obese individuals need more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to their bodies and require more pressure to move their blood. High blood pressure is common among obese people and is also a leading cause of heart attacks.
While obesity itself does not directly cause hair loss, heart disease, and circulatory issues can trigger or accelerate hair thinning and loss. Having a healthy scalp and hair is directly related to a healthy cardiovascular system, and hair loss is recognized as being a visual cue for heart disease. Poor circulation and disrupted blood flow, or a weak heart can reduce blood flow to the hair follicle and limit its ability to grow healthy hair.
Contact New Look Institute
Many different factors can trigger hair loss, and it can be challenging to diagnose. While obesity and other medical diagnoses may not be directly related to hair loss, they may cause conditions to develop, which can damage the hair follicles. The first step in determining the cause of your hair loss is to schedule an initial consultation with our hair loss specialists. Our staff will thoroughly examine your scalp and hair and will explore your medical history to determine the cause of your hair loss as well as any contributing factors. To learn more about the causes of hair loss and what you can do, contact us today and schedule a free consultation.