Acanthosis Nigricans

Acanthosis Nigricans is a non inflammatory skin related medical condition that can affect people of any age and gender and should not be casually dismissed by patients and they observe such growths in their skin. Hyper pigmentation, creases develop in some parts of body and skin also changes in texture. It doesn’t have any internal symptoms to show for its growth except that it develops physically and starts becoming more and more visible with passage of time.

These are more commonly seen to grow in armpits, groin, finger joints etc; skin starts to turn dark and creased in these areas.

Africans, it is observed are more prone to it. It can affect absolutely healthy people; it is sometimes seen to erupt as a result of some medicinal reaction (hormones, contraceptive pills) that the person may have been taking for resolving some other medical problem; this disorder is also sometimes inherited.

People who are more likely to be affected with this disorder include people who are obese; those suffering from diabetes due to obesity; people with endocrine disorder; patients of lymphoma or gastrointestinal cancer or genitourinary tracts can also develop the symptoms of Acanthosis Nigricans.

Skin turning velvety and creased in areas like the lips, palms, soles of the feet, which is otherwise less common, are more common amongst cancer patients who are developing this disease.

Sometimes hyperkeratotic plaque in the body parts like knee, elbows, and scalp is confused with psoriasis. But in reality it is no so.

Acanthosis Nigricans and psoriasis are two very different conditions.

A person suffering from Acanthosis Nigricans doesn’t experience inflammation, or there is no redness in the affected area like it is often observed in case of Psoriasis patients.

Another feature of Psoriasis that differentiates it from Acanthosis Nigricans is the epidermal thickening, where skin is associated with Parakeratosis and a superficial perivascular infiltrate and occurs by elongation of the rete ridges.

However cases of Acanthosis Nigricans occurring with psoriasis, are noticed, the combination however is unknown.

When people observe abnormalities in the way their skin has recently been looking or changing in colour and texture, they visit doctor and it does not take doctor too much time to diagnose the disease because of its peculiar features.

Sometimes the doctor may prescribe skin biopsy for the patient if he is suspecting an underlying symptoms pointing at something more serious like diabetes or cancer.

If he is not able to diagnose the exact cause for this skin disorder he may also ask the patient to do some blood tests, X-rays, endoscopy to arrive at the exact cause.

There is no treatment for Acanthosis Nigricans because it;s a skin related condition that has resulted because of some other underlying problem and if the doctor works on treating the underlying problem the problem can be resolved.

If the cause diagnosed is obesity then doctor may advise the patient to lose weight or if sugar is found to be the cause patient’s blood, he may be asked to bring sugar under control with insulin injections, exercise, controlling diet and so on.

By treating the underlying Endocrinologic abnormality it is possible to bring the factor causing the disorder into control and it is absolutely possible to bring the situation under control and once it is successfully done, the skin disorder will slowly start fading and reducing and skin will slowly become normal and come back to its original shape, look, and feel.

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