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Acanthosis Nigricans - Symptoms and Treatment

Acanthosis Nigricans is a very common type of skin disorders but is very dangerous also Acanthosis nigricans may begin at any age. Acanthosis Nigricans is related to insulin metabolism and appears in diseases which affect insulin metabolism including obesity. Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition that signals high insulin levels in the body. Insulin is produced by an organ called the pancreas. Insulin is important because it helps "carry" the glucose or sugar to the cells in your body. High insulin levels indicate that the body is resisting the insulin that is being produced. If the patient is obese, the eruption may clear with weight loss or correction of the underlying endocrine disorder. Some cases are genetically inherited. People with cancers of the gastrointestinal or genitourinary tracts or with lymphoma can also develop severe cases of acanthosis nigricans. It is most common among people of African descent. Acanthosis nigricans is mainly a cosmetic concern. Acanthosis nigricans screenings can help identify persons who have high insulin levels and who may be at-risk for developing the disease. Once identified, the necessary measures to lower the insulin levels and reduce the risk of developing diabetes can be taken. The most common malignancy associated with malignant acanthosis nigricans is abdominal adenocarcinoma, especially of the stomach.

Acanthosis nigricans is a very common skin disorders characterized by asymptomatic, brown to black, with a velvety texture which often affects the armpits, groin and neck. This disease is associated with overweight people. Eating too much of the wrong foods, especially starches and sugars, raises insulin levels. Patients suffering from acanthosis nigricans report a higher level of insulin. This results in insulin spillover into the skin and it activates the insulin receptors in the skin and forces it to grow abnormally. If one reduces the circulating insulin by a special diet it can lead to a rapid improvement of the skin problem. A medical workshop should be done if acanthosis nigricans develops in people who are not overweight. In rare cases it is associated with a tumor. In this case acanthosis can be seen in extra places such as the hands or lips and is unusually severe. In some cases it may occur genetically or due to endocrine disorder.

Causes of Acanthosis Nigricans

Common Causes of Acanthosis Nigricans :-

  • Other causes include chronic hepatitis and ingestion of large doses of niacin.
  • Deficiency of hormones from the adrenal gland.
  • Drugs, particularly hormones such as human growth hormone or oral contraceptives ("the pill"), can cause acanthosis nigricans.
  • Acanthosis nigricans is sometimes associated with being overweight.
  • Certain medications - such as human growth hormone, oral contraceptives and large doses of niacin - can contribute to the condition.
  • Eating too much of the wrong foods, especially starches and sugars, raises insulin levels.
  • It can be a genetic (inherited) condition. When inherited, it is not considered dangerous.
  • Eating too much of the wrong foods, especially starches and sugars, raises insulin levels.

Symptoms of Acanthosis Nigricans

Some common Symptoms of Acanthosis Nigricans :-

  • Skin changes appear slowly.
  • Light-brown-to-black.
  • Abnormally increased coloration (hyperpigmentation) and "velvety" thickening (hyperkeratosis) of the skin.
  • Itch, painless area of darkened, slightly raised skin.
  • The dark patches feel velvety and rough.
  • Dark and velvety skin
  • Visible markings and creases appears in the armpits, groin, and neck.

Treatment of Acanthosis Nigricans

  • Antibiotic ointments or creams.
  • Retin-A , 15% urea, alpha hydroxyacid , and salicylic acid.
  • Lose weight with obesity-associated AN.
  • Stop offending medicines in drug-induced AN.
  • Topical corticosteroid creams.
  • Retinoids, taken orally or used in a cream.








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