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    “I have a rare privilege of treating all kinds of Americans from every corner of the US, including the past President’s family, Hollywood stars, scientists, university professors, and the like.”

    - Dr Rajesh Shah

Acanthosis Nigricans

Introduction:

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin disorder which is characterized by dark, thick patchy skin having a velvety smooth texture that is most commonly observed in the folds of skin. Even though acanthosis is not a disease, it can be a symptom resulting due to certain underlying causes and preexisting conditions. Most often, people who are dark skinned, obese, and who sweat profusely suffer from this condition. It is commonly seen in the folds of skin, and the most commonly affected areas are as below:

  • Around Lips
  • Neck
  • Armpits
  • Elbows
  • Groins
  • Knees
  • Knuckles

Practically, the affected persons do not suffer from any discomfort as there is no itching involved, but patients are more concerned due to cosmetic reasons.

In severe cases, the skin may look leathery, very thick like that of elephant skin.

Causes and risk factors

Some of the prominent causes and risk factors that may make you suffer from Acanthosis nigricans are:

  • Diabetic or prediabetes state
  • Hyperinsulinemia
  • Obesity
  • Certain medications, such as birth control pills, thyroid supplements, and growth supplements used for bodybuilding, can create high insulin levels and make one prone to acanthosis nigricans.
  • Cancer and cancer medications (Chemotherapy and medications used to prevent the side effects of chemotherapy)
  • Endocrine diseases such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, acromegaly, and PCOD.

    

 

Diagnosis

Acanthosis nigricans is easily diagnosed clinically by examining the dark patches. In order to confirm the contributing causative factors, one must go for certain blood investigations, such as insulin, HBA1C, and fasting blood sugar levels. You may notice high levels of insulin which are known to be one of the triggering factors of acanthosis nigricans. The doctor may also suggest a biopsy when in dilemma and to rule other possible causes.

    

Similar conditions:

Some conditions may resemble Acanthosis nigricans, which include a certain form of eczema, lichen planus, and ichthyosis.

Treatment

Treatment for acanthosis nigricans is largely focused on addressing the underlying causative factors. If certain medications are the cause of acanthosis, the dark patches may also fade away after you stop taking those particular medications. The underlying cause such as diabetes can be treated with homeopathy in the early stages or you can see a diabetologist for the treatment. Any other medication possibly causing the disease should be substituted to alleviate the condition.

Homeopathy can help by possibly slowing down the further spread of the disease and reducing hyper-pigmentation to some extent. At Life Force, we do not have significant experience (2017) and we cannot promise any cure to the patient suffering from acanthosis nigricans. However, reducing weight by correcting dietary errors and exercising regularly can set your metabolism right and help in recovery.

- Written by Dr. Kanchan, Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah    

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