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From Squamish, British Columbia, Canada:

I recently read in a local newspaper that an early symptom, among others, of diabetes was what appears to be dirt on a child's neck that won't wash off.

My 8 year boy has this and I've scrubbed and scrubbed trying to get it off, now I just do the normal wash as I don't think all the scrubbing helps, nor feels pleasant for him. My son rarely gets sick, he's a great eater, although doesn't seem to be gaining much weight, he is always thirsty, and does go to the bathroom a lot. Up until I read that article I didn't have any real concerns for him, except for the "cradle cap" that never went away.

As far as I know there is no history of diabetes in my family, but there is on his father's side. Is it true about the dirt like markings around the neck? If that is an early sign, shouldn't there be others? I've read through the lists and I do think I should take him to our doctor but he just seems so healthy.


I believe what you are referring to is a pigmentation of the skin called acanthosis nigricans. This darkening of the skin occurs in the neck, underarm, and groin area in individuals who are overweight and have insulin resistance. They are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The most common form of diabetes in children is Type 1 diabetes. These children are usually not overweight (and often lose weight before they are diagnosed) and must be treated with insulin injections as opposed to type 2 diabetes which can often be treated with diet alone or in combination with oral medication.

Regardless of whether or not he has acanthosis nigricans, if he is thirsty and going to the bathroom a lot you should bring him to his own pediatrician to check his urine for sugar.

I would suggest trying to clean his neck with rubbing alcohol. This may remove the dark areas.


Original posting 15 Feb 2000
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:10
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