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Dark Patches On Your Neck? It’s NOT Dirt, Urges Malaysian Doctor

Dark Patches On Your Neck? It’s NOT Dirt, Urges Malaysian Doctor

It’s NOT dirt, it could be diabetes!

Melissa Suraya Ismail

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Have you ever come across dark patches of skin at the back of your or your relative’s neck?

That’s probably not just regular dirt that you can get washed off with soap or persistent scrubbing, that might be what they call ‘Acanthosis Nigricans’, which is an early symptom of diabetes.

Recently, a Twitter user who’s also a medical doctor with the username @fiezanizmohamed has shared the info with the public about those dark patches.

“Try looking out for the dark patches like these on the back of the necks of your children, siblings, or friends. This isn’t a mere accumulation of dead skin cells, this is acanthosis nigricans, one of the early signs of getting diabetes!” tweeted Dr. Hafizah.

She further explained that this can’t simply be scrubbed off and to check the blood sugar levels in your body.

Credit: @fiezanizmohamed / Twitter

What is Acanthosis Nigricans?

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition characterized by areas of dark, thick, velvety discoloration in body folds and creases such as your neck, armpits, and groin area.

These skin changes usually happen to people who are obese or have diabetes.

Children who have this skin condition, especially if they’re obese, are more prone to develop type 2 diabetes (diabetes caused by dietary causes, not hereditary).

Some people also have tiny growths on the dark patches.
Credit: NHS website

Also a member of #medtweetMY, a group of medical doctors sharing useful health and medical advice on Twitter, Dr.HafizahMH further clarified the details of Acanthosis Nigricans to netizens commenting on her thread.

The dark patches associated with this condition are usually ‘velvety’ and have hairy features. They will not disappear even with rigorous scrubbing. Hence, marks could also be present.

Apart from the back of the neck, it can also show symptoms on the armpits.

Moreover, Acanthosis shouldn’t be itchy. If it starts off being itchy and leaves bruises on your skin, that might be eczema, not the said condition.

One curious Twitter user asked, “How to get our own blood sugar level reading? Do we have to go to the clinic too?”

Some netizens replied to her aid explaining that you can get the machine at pharmacies or you can just go to pharmacies and ask them for a blood sugar test, in which they will charge you a certain amount.

One Dark Neck, Many Possible Causes

Another concerned netizen added that the picture Dr. Hafizah shared also could be caused by a different condition called ‘Terra Firma-Forme Dermatosis’ (TFFD).

It is a benign skin condition that presents itself with brown to black plaques, similar to dirty skin. If the condition is confirmed to be TFFD, gentle swabbing with 70% isopropyl alcohol can solve the problem.

She further attached a journal article on TFFD for any further clarifications for interested netizens.

Credit: @fiezanizmohamed / Twitter

Read more on her tweet here.

Hence people, do take note of the changes in your children’s skins or yours, especially if the changes appear suddenly.

For further detail and confirmation, do consult with your nearest general practitioner.

You can get more credible information such as the diagnosis, causes, symptoms, and treatment with a check-up.


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