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Skin tags, abdominal obesity could be signs of insulin resistance –Endocrinologist

Amarachi Okeh

A Consultant Endocrinologist with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Oluwarotimi Olopade has urged Nigerians to pay better attention to their bodies and seek medical intervention when they observed some changes.

He stressed that changes like developing skin tags, stomach obesity, and having dark patches in some areas of the body should not be ignored because they are often signs of an underlying health condition.

These three changes, he said, are typical signs of insulin resistance which could mean the person is in a prediabetes state or already living with diabetes.

Insulin resistance, according to experts, is when cells in a person’s muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and the person can’t use glucose from his/her blood for energy. To make up for it, the pancreas makes more insulin. Over time, the person’s blood sugar levels go up.

According to Webmd.com, a peer-reviewed medical platform, insulin resistance syndrome includes a group of problems like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, Olopade noted that these signs are commonly seen in obese people.

He said, “Most of the time, it is seen in obese patients, those are the people that have all that sign. They are the people that have obesity or Cushing’s Syndrome.

“Skin tags, abdominal obesity, acanthosis nigricans over the neck that are dark patches over the neck and frictional areas all those could be signs of insulin resistance in a person.”

According to Mayo Clinic, acanthosis nigricans is a condition that causes areas of dark, thick velvety skin in body folds and creases. It typically affects the armpits, groin, and neck.

“It develops slowly. The affected skin might be itchy, have an odour, and develop skin tags,” the site said.

Speaking on, Olopade said such signs mean that the person is producing more than enough insulin but the body is not able to make use of it.

“The implication is that the person may have had abnormal glucose value or diabetes, that is, prediabetes or diabetes. It can also mean that the person also has hypertension.

“However, some drugs can be used to treat insulin resistance. “Almost the same drugs used for diabetes can be used to lower or improve the resistance,” he said.

The consultant endocrinologist said some of the signs may disappear when the person has commenced treatment but noted that some of the signs may not disappear.

He, however, noted that one thing that is crucial in the management of insulin resistance is weight loss, stressing that weight loss helps to improve insulin resistance.

Exercising, and eating healthy foods are also additional ways of treating insulin resistance, he said.

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