Type 2 diabetes: Noticing this worrying sign on your skin could mean you’re at risk

Type 2 diabetes, like many other health conditions, can be life-threatening if neglected over a long period of time. The threat can come in the form of high blood sugar levels, a type of sugar one absorbs into their bloodstream through food eaten. When the body is functioning properly, the pancreas secretes a hormone known as insulin, which regulates the amount of blood sugar entering the bloodstream.


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When a person has type 2 diabetes it means they are either resistant to the effect of insulin or they don’t produce enough insulin to help maintain normal glucose levels.

Left untreated, the high blood sugar could affect various cells and organs in the body.

Complications could mean damage to the kidneys, often leading to dialysis, eye damage, which could result in blindness or having an increase risk for heart disease or stroke.

Acanthosis nigricans is another worrying symptom of high blood sugar level which involves the skin.

What is acanthosis nigricans?

The NHS said: “Acanthosis nigricans is the name for dry, dark patches of skin that usually appear in the armpits, neck or groin.

“It could be a sign of an underlying condition, so it needs to be checked by a GP.

“The main symptom of acanthosis nigricans is patches of skin that are darker and thicker than usual.

“They can appear anywhere on the body.”

The Mayo Clinic said: “Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition characterised by areas of dark, velvety discolouration in body folds and creases.

“The affected skin can become thickened. Most often, acanthosis nigricans affects your armpits, groin or neck.

“The skin changes typically occur in people who are obese or have diabetes.

“Children who develop the condition are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”


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Diabetes.co.uk added: “Acanthosis nigricans is a relatively common skin condition that is one of the symptoms of diabetes.

“Acanthosis nigricans is characterised by darkening of the skin at particular areas such as the neck and armpits.

“It is not a dangerous condition in itself but is typically a sign of the presence of a problematic condition such as type 2 diabetes and sometimes cancer.”

“See a GP if you notice new dark patches on your skin or any skin changes, you’re unsure about.

“Although its usually harmless, it’s best to get any skin changes checked out. In rare cases, it can be a sign of something more serious, such as cancer.

“A GP can usually tell if it’s acanthosis nigricans by looking at your skin.

“You may need some tests if they’re not sure what’s causing the patches,” said NHS.

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