Acanthosis nigricans is described as a skin disorder characterized by thick dark skin located in the deeper folds and recesses of the body. The skin will also have a velvety texture to it. This is a disease that is not always an inherited genetic disorder. Acanthosis nigricans is usually seen in African descendants in part because of the ease in which people can see the darker skin. It can affect people who are of good health, or it can be related to other medical problems. The most common cause of acanthosis nigricans is obesity. There has also been a link with this medical issue and some endocrine disorders. People with diabetes are very prone to this disorder.
Acanthosis nigricans typically occurs in people younger than the age of forty. The most common cause of acanthosis nigricans is insulin resistance. This is why it is so common in obese persons. Obesity is often associated with diabetes. Diabetes has a problem with the control of insulin in the body and some people have to take insulin shots to correct their deficiency. Acanthosis nigricans can also be caused by hormone drugs such as human growth hormone or birth control pills. People with certain cancers can also develop severe cases of acanthosis nigricans. People with this disorder should also be tested for diabetes as well as cancer, even though it is rare to coincide with each other.
Acanthosis nigricans has several different tests to diagnose whether or not people have the disease. A skin biopsy can be necessary for some unusual cases. Health care providers can order blood tests, x-rays, or endoscopy to rule out other types of medical problems. Acanthosis nigricans can be treated only if there are other underlying medical issues that cause it. Without other types of medical issues it only changes the skin and therefore has no real type of prescribed treatment. Since obesity is a common cause of this disorder, there can be no doubt that having a healthy exercise program is extremely important in its prevention. Someone with this skin disorder can often expect it to fade after treatment.
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