Do you notice patches of black skin on your nape or in your armpits? There’s a good chance they are signs of acanthosis nigricans. Although they may look like mere skin discoloration, according to brianwilliamsdermatology.com, they usually mean something more sinister: diabetes.
What Is It Anyway?
Acanthosis nigricans is the discoloration of the skin, which normally appears on the folds or creases of the body such as the armpits and the groin. They are velvety and thick.
The thickening of the skin develops when the body produces skin cells rapidly. Just imagine those cells piled up on top of one another. What drives this hyperproduction? It is too much insulin in the bloodstream.
Insulin and Diabetes
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and plays a huge role in the delivery and absorption of sugar (glucose) to the cells. Some people do not produce insulin (type 1 diabetes), but most people do not use it properly (type 2 diabetes). In turn, the body becomes resistant to insulin, and sugar levels remain high.
Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that can have serious lifelong health consequences. It can damage blood vessels and nerves, so it increases your risk for hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. It may also lead to eye conditions like retinal neuropathy. There’s also a strong link between kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.
What Can You Do about It?
Acanthosis nigricans can fade away as long as you control, reduce, or eliminate the risk factors of diabetes especially obesity. Over time, the skin discoloration will disappear. Nevertheless, if the skin is already very thick, you can benefit from a skin treatment in Salt Lake City, usually through laser therapy. The clinic may also provide you with whitening creams to lighten the darkened area.
Needless to say, don’t take acanthosis nigricans for granted. Seek medical help as soon as possible before the underlying condition behind it gets any worse.