Thick, dark skin patches suggestive of diabetes: doctor


TAIPEI–Overweight people with abnormal thickening and darkening of their skin creases should be on alert for diabetes, a local doctor said yesterday.

Most patients assume that dark, thick patches in skin folds are the result of a lack of personal hygiene, but in fact, they are common symptoms of diabetes, according to the doctor at Taipei’s Shuang Ho Hospital.

Acanthosis nigricans, the medical name for the skin disorder, is characterized by excessive melanin deposits in skin folds such as in the armpit, groin and neck, said Liou Tsan-hong, chief the hospital’s medical rehabilitation department.

Overweight people with insulin resistance have excessive insulin that tends to cause thick and dark appearances on the skin, and sometimes even small lumps, he added.

As acanthosis nigricans is an indicator of the onset of diabetes, if the signs are detected early and precautions taken — such as losing a few pounds — diabetes can be prevented, Liou said.