The problem that drives diabetes symptoms – high blood sugar levels – is often reluctant to rear its ugly head. This means that many patients are unaware that something is wrong, according to the NHS.
Once symptoms do appear, they are often classed as general. However, a doctor has highlighted an area where you really might not think to look for when scanning your body for diabetes symptoms – your neck.
Dr Shah, also known as DermDoctor, took to his TikTok to outline a lesser-known sign of the blood sugar condition. He explained that skin in this area that appears darker could be a red flag.
A darker neck doesn’t always mean you’re dirty. According to Dr Shah, one of the causes behind this discoloration could be acanthosis nigricans.
Acanthosis nigricans refers to a velvety, darkening of your skin that usually occurs in skin fold areas. This hyperpigmentation has poorly defined borders and may include thickening of the skin.
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@dermdoctor Do you have darker neck?This is acanthosis nigricans… you’re not dirty! This is a thickening of the skinCauses include diabetes, genetics, PCOS, malignancies, and other conditions that stimulate growth factors to thicken the skin Treatment aims at normalizing skin thickneess with exfoliants like lactic acid (amlactin) and urea (cetaphil rough and bumpy). Retinoids like adapalene also help! #dermatologist ♬ original sound – DermDoctor | Dr. Shah
While this discolouration can appear anywhere on the body, it tends to occur at the back of the neck, axilla, and groin.
Dr Shah added that some of the causes behind acanthosis nigricans include diabetes and insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance describes a condition where your body triggers resistance against too much insulin because there are too many carbs in your diet, Dr Eric Berg has previously explained in one of his YouTube videos.
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Worryingly, insulin resistance could lay the harmful groundwork for prediabetes and eventually diabetes.
While a darker neck could point to the blood sugar condition and its underlying problems, Dr Shah noted that genetics could also play a part in the development of this issue.
Therefore, being aware of the following diabetes symptoms is front and centre:
- Peeing a lot (often at night)
- Being very thirsty
- Losing weight without trying
- Being very hungry
- Having blurry vision
- Having numb or tingling hands or feet
- Feeling very tired
- Having very dry skin
- Having sores that heal slowly
- Having more infections than usual.
The NHS recommends seeing your GP “as soon as possible” if you experience the main symptoms of diabetes.
Dr Shah added that treatments for acanthosis nigricans include diabetes control.
However, there are also other remedies. He added: “Treatment aims at normalising skin thickness with exfoliants like lactic acid (amlactin) and urea (cetaphil rough and bumpy). Retinoids like adapalene also help.”
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