Are There Health Concerns Associated With Acanthosis Nigricans?

A health concern associated with acanthosis nigricans is the likelihood of the patient developing type 2 diabetes, according to Mayo Clinic. The condition is associated with a higher-than-normal insulin level, states WebMD.

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition primarily affecting African Americans, states WebMD. It can occur at birth and also in people who are otherwise healthy. Some medical conditions and medications can also cause acanthosis nigricans.

Patients with acanthosis nigricans notice velvety marks that appear under the breasts and on the neck, groin and armpits, describes WebMD. The marks are typically light brown to black in color.

One of the primary conditions associated with acanthosis nigricans is obesity, WebMD reports. Patients may also have diabetes. Other conditions related to acanthosis nigricans affect the body's glands, WebMD explains. Low thyroid production can be a culprit, along with diseases of the pituitary gland. Addison's disease, an adrenal gland condition, can also cause acanthosis nigricans.

Along with diseases that affect the glands, medications that contain hormones may also cause or worsen acanthosis nigricans, reports WebMD. Oral contraceptives and growth hormones can be the cause. Acanthosis nigricans often disappears when medication causing it is discontinued, says WebMD. Losing weight and eating a diet that reduces circulating insulin can improve and prevent the condition.