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May 29, 2000

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from El Paso, Texas, USA:

I just got a referral form from my son's school nurse saying that I should have my son looked at because she found a light brown-black area around the neck. Now, I washed it real good and a lot of it went away, but there is still some left she says there's a potential risk for Type 2 diabetes. My son is 8 years old he is big for his age he weighs 98 pounds and is 5 feet tall. Everyone on my side of the family is stocky with big bones and my grandmother had diabetes. I have been borderline diabetes, but I don't see any of the characteristics in my son should I still get him examined by a doctor? He is not thirsty nor does he urinate a lot, but, he is bigger than most children his age.

Answer:

Your school nurse is worried about a skin condition called acanthosis nigricans which can be related to Type 2 or adult-onset diabetes. This type of diabetes can also occur in children. You might do a search for “acanthosis nigricans” on this website and you’ll find a wealth of information about this disorder and many previously answered questions.

MSB
Additional comments from Stephanie Schwartz, diabetes nurse specialist:

Given the family history that you describe and the questionable markings on your child’s neck, he is a high risk for the development of Type 2 diabetes. I would have him checked out by a pediatric endocrinologist. More information about the latest recommendations regarding Type 2 diabetes in children can be found on this website.

By the way, the term “borderline diabetes” is no longer used as diagnostic criteria have changed. Therefore, I strongly suggest that you have yourself evaluated by an endocrinologist as well.

SS