Acanthosis nigricans: Who gets and causes
Who gets acanthosis nigricans?
Anyone can get this skin condition. Some people, however, have a greater risk. People who are most likely to get acanthosis nigricans (AN) are:
Obese or overweight
Of Native American, African, Caribbean, or Hispanic descent
From a family with a history of AN
What causes acanthosis nigricans?
People get this skin condition for many reasons. Obesity is the most common cause. Studies show that when obese children and adults who have AN lose a significant amount of weight, they often see their skin clear.
People who are completely healthy also get AN. These people tend to have others in their family with this skin condition.
Sometimes, AN is a warning sign of something going on inside the body. It can be a sign that you have
Pre-diabetes or diabetes. If you have pre-diabetes, making some lifestyle changes can help prevent diabetes. If you have diabetes, it is important to find out so that you can treat it.
A reaction to a medicine you're taking. Birth control pills, strong corticosteroids like prednisone, and niacin can cause AN.
A hormonal condition. You could have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disease, or a problem with your adrenal glands.
Cancer. When AN develops quickly, it can be a sign of a cancer, especially a cancer in the stomach, colon, or liver.
American Diabetes Association, “Type 2 diabetes,” available at www.diabetes.org. Last accessed September 2012.
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