Brown spots

Patient

Q: I have a light brown patch of skin under both arm pits my doctor said to get blood work done for diabetes I am not over weight and I am in the sun a lot I was last tested for diabetes in 2012 and was fine I am very worried could I have these brown spots for any other reason or is it definitely diabetes?

Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. What your doctor suspects you have is a condition called Acanthosis Nigricans. This is a condition commonly caused by insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes). It is by no means a diagnosis for Type 2 Diabetes, but it is sign that us physicians used as part of our diagnostic work up. The blood work that your doctor is performing will determine if you have diabetes or not. Other causes of this could be to other hormonal disturbances such as in increased cortisol levels. Furthermore, darkened areas of the skin could also be caused by an underlying autoimmune disease or even cancer. Without further examination or testing, we regrettably would not be able to provide you with a diagnosis beyond the suggestions we have made.

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