Growing teens are often plagued with skin conditions. It is in puberty that breakouts usually happen due to hormonal changes. But some skin troubles are more serious than meets the eye, having underlying causes that may lead to life-debilitating illnesses if left untreated. Such is the case of acanthosis nigricans. The thickened dark skin patches that usually show up at the sides and back of the neck, elbows, armpits, knuckles, and groin may be a sign of prediabetes. It should be treated early and effectively not only because it could look unsightly, warty and dirty, but also because it indicates a major health condition.
It should be clear, though, that it is not only teens and growing children at risk for acanthosis nigricans. It may become visible around that age if the child is overweight or has a family history of diabetes. But it may also show up at any age, affecting both men and women, depending on what cause is behind its appearance.
There are several causes associated with acanthosis nigricans, and they include the following:
High Blood Insulin Levels
Acanthosis Nigricans is most common among people whose insulin levels are uncontrollably high. This condition is called insulin resistance or hyperinsulinemia. It is when the blood insulin levels are higher than average. As it is, insulin resistance is not yet considered diabetes, although it is often associated with type 2 diabetes. However, the existence of such a condition may eventually lead to the development of the illness.
Hyperinsulinemia happens when the body does not respond to the effects of insulin or the hormone produced by the pancreas. When this happens, the pancreas work double, producing more insulin to compensate for what the body detects as a shortage, keeping them constantly high.
One of the most common signs or symptoms of hyperinsulinemia is acanthosis nigricans. That’s why when the dark, velvety, and sometimes itchy skin patches begin to appear, people are inclined to have themselves checked for diabetes. Typically, they would go through a round of tests to diagnose where the problem is coming from. Because, like acanthosis nigricans, the overproduction of insulin can be due to an underlying cause.