A Skin Symptom May Be a Sign of Diabetes

(Republicaninformer.com)- According to a physician in Taiwan, brown or black patches of skin that may have a bad smell or are rough to the touch are likely a condition called acanthosis nigricans.

This condition, most commonly appearing along the back of the neck, the groin, and in the armpits, has nothing to do with poor hygiene but rather could be a symptom of a more serious disease, including diabetes and cancer.

According to Dr. Yilun Chiang from the Department of Endocrinology at Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital in Taiwan, one likely cause of acanthosis nigricans is insulin resistance, which is an early sign of Type 2 diabetes.

People with insulin resistance are often obese or have a high waist circumference along with localized skin darkening and thickening.

Dr. Liu Peng-Tzu of Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital’s Family Medicine Department said some children with Type 1 diabetes can also develop acanthosis nigricans even if they are not obese.

One other possible cause of insulin resistance is endocrine disorders like polycystic ovary syndrome, hypothyroidism, and adrenal insufficiency.

Medications can also affect insulin secretion leading to insulin resistance and the development of acanthosis nigricans, including birth control pills, corticosteroids, nonsteroidal estrogen or diethylstilbestrol, niacin, growth hormones, and medication for treating the thyroid.

The skin condition could also be a sign of some cancers.

Malignant acanthosis nigricans is generally associated with adenocarcinomas of the abdominal organs, most notably gastric cancers. But patients with pancreatic, ovarian, breast, or esophageal cancers can also develop acanthosis nigricans. When associated with cancer, acanthosis nigricans can occur before, with, or after a cancer diagnosis.

Additional factors, including genetic inheritance and autoimmune disease, can also lead to an onset of acanthosis nigricans.

According to Dr. Yilun Chiang, while the onset of acanthosis nigricans can occur during any age from infancy to adulthood, when it is caused by malignant tumors, it is more likely to occur in adults.