Hair Loss and Chronic Diseases

My hair is all cracking off now in late 40's (female) after having several years of hair loss escalate into overdrive. I am losing all my hair and my skin has felt thinned and developed more sensitivities as well. I first lost 1/3 of my hair a few years ago, it progressed to 1/2 my hair, and now what's left is brittle and cracking off in layers of the shaft. I see so many doctors and specialists (prediabetes escalating into full, Hashimoto's hypothyroid, roseacea, allergies, skin sensitivity syndrome, overweight and cognitive and mood issues).

I'm not sure if I absorb nutrients well.

I did have low B 12, vit D and iron at various points but supposedly supplementation has me in the right range.

I discovered my ferritin at 32.6 supposedly "normal" is possibly lower than the amount you need to grow hair. People are claiming you'll lose hair under 40 ferritin and to regrow possibly need to be up to 80.

How do you get ferritin up quickly and safely?

How do I find the right supplementation and nutrition plan?

I cannot do keto (blew out thyroid, regained my lost weight, lost hair, it stressed my body). I am not going to go vegan, or high carb or even vegetarian. I can only eat a balanced diet (veggies, moderate protein, moderate carbs, healthy fat with the occasional treat).

I really need to use my insurance to keep the expenses manageable but my endocrinologist said "Google diet plans" and I have no one person that can coordinate my health issues.

I've taken a pause in the weight loss as I try to find out how to get my hair to regrow and start getting my health on track.

This site has been a Godsend, showing me so much about the nutrients in my food and caloric intake for the day.

I'm in the USA. How can I find an expert or primary care doctor that can coordinate all this to help me quickly get the nutrients I need and measure internal improvement.

I understand you lose hair when your body has to hoard nutrients to save your organs. I am clearly in crisis mode and for about 5 years of seeing doctors about all this I have only gotten worse.


  • @health4ever

    Do you have access to a Registered Dietitian? I'd look into seeing if such services could be covered from your insurance plan.

    The symptoms you described sound more in line with thyroid condition (possibly PCOS), than iron deficiency. You may want to request a referral to a dermatologist as well.

    Also, if iron wasn't the cause of your hair loss, it won't be the solution either. That said, your ferritin is low normal and could be contributing to thinning/shedding. The best sources of iron are animal products and red meat. However, taking an iron supplement for a few months may be needed to boost low levels.

    Hope this helps!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • Rosacea can also affect the scalp, and low thyroid can affect hair loss. How are your thyroid labs and can you combine all your doctors into one?

    "I've never considered excessive sanity a virtue" Mike Uris, San Antonio Express-News, 2002

  • @health4ever

    prediabetes escalating into full

    Hair loss is a possible side effect of that. Look into biotin BTW.

  • "I'm in the USA. How can I find an expert or primary care doctor that can coordinate all this to help me quickly get the nutrients I need and measure internal improvement."

    If your primary care physician is specialized in family medicine, consider switching to a physician who specialized in internal medicine. (Some may have two specialties -- internal medicine and pediatrics.) They are trained differently. When you have multiple chronic conditions, have multiple specialists, and/or passing through middle age, it's a good time to consider this.

    Care coordination is trickier, and for that, you may just have to ask. Some offices use a regional electronic records exchange. (Google "Healthcare Information Exchange" plus your state.) Some offices are a part of a practice that includes many specialists, or a healthcare system that does with baked in record sharing. But that's really only as good as everyone's use of the records system. If you're lucky they sometimes talk to one another.

    If you have the means, hiring a private patient advocate could help you. This could be a long term thing. Or they could help you organize your existing records and find effective ways to log and distribute new information. Plus organize information (symptoms, etc) as your body changes.

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