Read about acanthosis nigricans medical facts: what is the definition of acanthosis nigricans, medical treatment & how to treat acanthosis nigricans, information about the causes, testing, and related acanthosis nigricans diseases.

Definition: What is "Acanthosis nigricans"?


Acanthosis Nigricans is a dermatological condition where the skin appears to be brown to black in color. It also appears to be poorly defined, often velvety & is considered to be a state of hyperpigmentation. This is usually present in the lateral & posterior folds of the groin, the neck, the axilla, the umbilicus & also some other areas. The changes on the skin's pigment are the sole signs of acanthosis nigricans. It can be noticed that it appears very slowly (sometimes it can take months or years). It is very rare that the affected areas may itch. This condition can begin at any age but it is more evident among darker-skinned individuals.

Treatment: How to Treat "Acanthosis nigricans"?

Patients of acanthosis nigricans must be screened for cancer or diabetes. It is also important for them to control their levels of blood glucose & this can be done by having a proper diet & some good exercise. When a healthy regimen is strictly followed, recovery is almost always certain. Also, if the causes are immediately diagnosed & treated with the right medications, the prognosis is often positive. It is often best to seek medical advice once the hyper pigmentation appears suddenly. This could be an indication that the patient has other conditions that need to be attended to immediately.


Acanthosis Nigricans occurs when there is a spillover of insulin into the patient's skin. This is caused by overproduction because of obesity or it could be because of resistance to insulin). When there's a spillover, it is often observed that abnormal growths start to appear. The most probable cause is resistance to insulin which is ordinarily from type 2 diabetis mellitus. Other causes include gastric cancer that is malignant; idiopathic & polycystic ovary syndrome; or obesity. When it comes to malignant illnesses, Acanthosis nigricans is a syndrome that is paraneoplastic & is often referred to as Acanthosis nigricans maligna. It is very rare that mucous membranes become involved.


Doctors usually diagnose this condition when they look at the patient's skin. A biopsy of the skin may be an option in some unusual cases. If there is no apparent cause of acanthosis nigricans, it is essential to look for one. This is necessary because some other unseen illness might be causing it. Tests could include blood tests, x-rays, endoscopy. These techniques may be required to eliminate any chances of cancer or diabetes as the underlying cause.

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