What Are Dark Spots Many People Have Around Their Necks And Why Are They A Cause For Concern?

May 31, 2019 13:06

It’s hardly a secret that the skin pigmentation is purely individual. It applies to the tone, age-related changes, and phenomena, such as freckles.

Over the years, the skin loses its elasticity and somewhat darkens. But few people know that a significant change in color on the neck, as well as in the armpits, groin or finger joints may indicate serious health problems.

This condition is called acanthosis nigricans. It is characterized by the thickened and darkened skin in these areas that feels “velvety” to the touch. Many people mistake it for dirt and try to clean the affected areas, but this turns out to be ineffective.

If you notice a rough and dark skin patch, do not postpone a visit to the dermatologist, and here's why.

Although acanthosis nigricans is considered to be a rather rare disease, according to some data, about 7% of children suffer from it in the USA. In childhood and adolescence, this condition is usually benign, and in some cases, it becomes malignant after 40 years of age.

Particularly susceptible are people with excess weight that exceeds the norm by 50% or more. Other risk factors include family history.

The causes for its development include:

  • changes in hormonal levels due to impaired functioning of the thyroid gland;
  • resistance to insulin;
  • malignant tumors;
  • taking a number of drugs, including psychotropic ones.

This condition isn’t a health threat itself unless it is associated with certain types of cancer or type 2 diabetes, the development of which it can sometimes indicate. Oncology is generally suspected only in combination with other typical symptoms.

The appearance of dark spots on the skin can be one of the early signs of diabetes, the timely diagnosis of which can significantly improve the patient’s overall condition.

Its symptoms include:

  • strong thirst;
  • constant feeling of hunger;
  • frequent urination;
  • blurred vision;
  • slow healing of bruises and cuts;
  • constant fatigue;
  • in the case of type 1 – nausea and vomiting, weight loss, sweet breath that smells like nail polish;
  • in the case of type 2 – numbness and tingling sensations in the limbs, frequent skin infections in the area between the fingers, around the genitals or under the breasts.

Also, acanthosis nigricans can be associated with diseases such as Addison's disease (an endocrine disorder), Becker's nevus (the appearance of nevi on the body due to excessive growth of the epidermis), some forms of papillomatosis or dermatitis.

Any suspicion of the condition listed above is a reason to go to the doctor, especially if you are over 45 years old.

And there is also a risk of developing diabetes or cancer. Even minor changes in skin pigmentation can be the first signs of serious diseases. And we all know that treatment is always more effective if started in early stages.

This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.