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July 20, 2003

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Wisconsin, USA:

I have been told that my 11 year old son is going to have diabetes. He is overweight, has a fatty liver, and he also has dark skin on the back of his neck, knuckles, armpits, and in his groin area. He just recently he gained 20 pounds in six weeks. He sweats a lot even when he is sleeping with no blankets on and is very clammy a lot too. We do have a family history of diabetes, and I am very concerned about my son. Can any of these symptoms mean diabetes for him? I know a lot of people who ask why his skin is getting so dark in the areas I told you about.


The dark skin is probably Acanthosis Nigricans which is associated with insulin resistance and hence the high risk for diabetes. His weight gain and the fatty liver are associated with this as well.

He needs to be seen by a physician who can explain all this to you and try to intervene. He may need medicine, but needs evaluation first, especially to look at liver tests, etc.


[Editor’s comment: See What You Need to Know about Type 2 Diabetes in Children.