Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Acanthosis nigricans is a disease that causes dark, thickareas on the skin. The areas affected are spread out, and the skin isvelvety. It is most common in the armpits and other body folds.
What is going on in the body?
There are four types of acanthosis nigricans.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
There are many causes of acanthosis nigricans, including thefollowing:
Symptoms & Signs
What are the signs and symptoms of the disease?
Acanthosis nigricans causes skin lesions that are darkerthan the skin around them. The lesions have a velvety feel. Thelesions often form in the folds along the neck, armpits, groin, knuckles,between the legs, at the elbow, under the breasts, and around the bellybutton.
Diagnosis & Tests
How is the disease diagnosed?
A doctor can diagnose acanthosis nigricans by doing amedical history and physical exam.
Prevention & Expectations
What can be done to prevent the disease?
When acanthosis nigricans is caused byobesity,weight management is key. When it is caused bycancer,there may be little that can be done to prevent it until the cancer issuccessfully treated. Acanthosis nigricans caused by medicine maygo away once the medicine is stopped.
What are the long-term effects of the disease?
A person with acanthosis nigricans may have chafing of theskin. These areas do not become cancerous. The appearance ofthese chafed spots bothers some people.
What are the risks to others?
Acanthosis nigricans is not catching and poses norisk to others.
Treatment & Monitoring
What are the treatments for the disease?
Treatments of acanthosis nigricans include the following:
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Side effects of steroid creams and ointments include stretchmarks and thinning of the skin. Retinoids can cause birth defects if takenby a pregnant woman.
What happens after treatment for the disease?
The doctor may recommend treatment for an underlyingcondition or disease. For example, obesepeople may be advised to lose weight to lower their insulin resistance. Aperson who has diabeteswill need to keep blood glucose levels under good control.
How is the disease monitored?
The disease or condition that is causing acanthosis nigricanswill need to be monitored. Any new or worsening symptoms should bereported to the doctor.
Article type: xmedgeneral