Acanthosis Nigricans – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

March 19 21:00 2019 Print This Article

Acanthosis Nigricans is a common skin disease that usually present in the posterior and lateral folds of the neck, the axilla, groin, umbilicus, and other areas. Acanthosis nigricans may begin at any age. This is most often associated with being overweight. Sometimes acanthosis nigricans is congenital or due to an endocrine (glandular) disorder. There is no cure for acanthosis nigricans. Overweight individuals usually have improvement if they lose weight. In those who have a tumor or a gland disorder, correction of the underlying problem will often cure the acanthosis nigricans. People with acanthosis nigricans should be screened for diabetes. There are two important types of acanthosis: benign and malignant. Although classically described as a sign of internal malignancy, this is very rare.

People with lymphoma or cancers of the gastrointestinal or genitourinary tracts can also develop severe cases of acanthosis nigricans. Occasionally acanthosis nigricans is congenital or due to an endocrine disorder. When acanthosis nigricans develops in people who are not overweight, a medical work-up should be done. These conditions usually cause itchiness, and your dog’s scratching can cause trauma to the skin and a worsening of the problem. Rarely acanthosis nigricans is associated with a tumor, most commonly of the stomach or gut. Physicians can usually diagnose acanthosis nigricans by simply looking at a patient’s skin. A skin biopsy may be needed in unusual cases. There’s no specific treatment but treating any underlying conditions may cause the skin changes to fade.

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin disorder characterized by dark, thick, velvety skin in body folds and creases, caused by too much insulin in the blood. High insulin levels in the blood can lead to diabetes and other chronic health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, and heart problems. Acanthosis Nigricans may occur in association with an underlying cancerous tumor (i.e., malignant AN). Various benign (non-cancerous) forms of AN have been identified in which the disorder may be inherited as a primary condition or associated with various syndromes. 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.

Causes of Acanthosis Nigricans

Common causes and risk factors of Acanthosis nigricans:

  • Some drugs, particularly hormones such as human growth hormone or oral contraceptives.
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • Acanthosis nigricans is sometimes associated with being overweight.
  • Other possible cause of acanthosis nigricans is the obesity, which is frequently found in people with diabetes.
  • Acanthosis nigricans is most common in dark-skinned individuals, especially those of African American descent.

Signs and Symptoms of Acanthosis Nigricans

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

  • Itching.
  • Lesions may also appear.
  • Dark, thick, velvety skin.
  • light-brown-to-black.
  • Skin tags, may be seen in and around the affected areas.

Treatment for Acanthosis Nigricans

Treatment may include:

  • A cream or lotion to help lighten the affected areas.
  • Excise may be used.
  • Fish oil supplements may also be recommended.
  • Topical retinoids, dermabrasion and laser therapy, are very effective in the treatment of acanthosis nigricans.
  • Stop offending medicines in drug-induced acanthosis nigricans.
  • The antibiotic ointments or creams retinoids are the useful remedies for acanthosis nigricans.
  • Acanthosis nigricans, can be avoided by loseing weight of the patient.
  • Retin-A, 15% urea, alpha hydroxyacid, and salicylic acid are general prescriptions from the doctors for improving the condition of the patient.
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