Saturday, August 20, 2011

What's that Ring Around Your Neck?

Why it's acanthosis nigricans. I remember learning about this skin disorder characterized by dark, thick skin in the folds and creases of the body when I was in school. While acanthosis nigricans can develop for any number of reasons, I became fascinated by this disorder because most often it is an indicator of insulin resistance which is on the pathway to diabetes.

In my outpatient practice, I saw this darkening of the skin around the neck frequently on teenagers - usually obese teenagers with a strong family history of diabetes. To help them see that their current lifestyle choices were negatively affecting their health, I would educate them on acanthosis nigricans and point out the ring around their neck. Most parents believed that the ring was just a line of dirt and would often send the child back to the shower or even try to rub it off themselves. Whenever I had a concern, I encouraged the family to see their physician and I would also send a letter with my recommendations to the referring physician. 

Well, you can imagine my displeasure, then, when during my physical this past week my doctor pointed out that I had the ring around my neck and that under my armpits were darkening as well. Truthfully, I wasn't completely surprised. I noticed the developing darkness last year and asked a health professional (not my doc) her opinion and she said I was in the all clear. I put it out of my head and forgot to ask my physician at the time. Fast forward a year and my current doc is talking to me about pre-diabetes. 

The darkening of the skin can also be attributed to hormone intake such as the pill and I have been on the pill for  many, many years; however, with a 30 lb weight gain in the past 3 years and a current BMI of 31, I have to be realistic that I may be insulin resistant. And it's not just 'the ring'. There have been other signs as well but being in the health field, I am paranoid about self-diagnosing so I ignored my gut instinct.

Nevertheless, I was shaken by the news and I reverted back to my usual place of comfort - food. For three days, I went a little wild with eating. 30 Days in the Raw went out the window as did vegan eating. Considering the news, it's a strange reaction I understand but it's done. I don't have a family history of diabetes so I don't want to be the first and I certainly don't want this to be my legacy to my future children. 

Today I re-committed to 30 Days in the Raw! I'm on the brink but I have a choice and that choice is to beat the disease. And I will.

Staying positive.

- Kareen, RD


eMCee said...

Wow! I'm sorry to hear this. But isn't it great how our bodies are created. We can cleanse and repair and our body forgives us of all the "junk" we've put in it over the years. My BMI is EMBARRASINGLY high, I am going to embark on a serious juicing journey over the next 60 days to cleanse and re program. I will be praying for you, please do the same for me!

i_amEatingRight said...

Hi MC! Thank you for your encouragement! I can't wait to hear about the wonderful health breakthroughs you are sure to experience on your 60 day fast. That's an awesome plan you're taking on. Our bodies do have an amazing capacity to heal so that's why I'm not giving up! Know that you're in my prayers!

Thandi said...

Praying for you.God keep you on the path to better health.

i_amEatingRight said...

Thank you Thandi! I definitely appreciate the prayers.

i_amEatingRight said...
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