After one day discovering a strange ring on her neck, a 14-year-old found out she had a serious untreatable skin condition.
Pantera Myhill already suffered from constant headaches, dehydration, diabetes, and mood swings when she discovered the mysterious dark ring, IJ Review reports.
It turned out Myhill has Acanthosis Nigricans, a skin condition predominantly affecting those who have diabetes or are obese. Dark areas often can show up on the armpit, groin or neck.
Symptoms include “dark, velvety discoloration in body folds and creases” and thickening of the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some may confuse the dark areas with dirt given the strong resemblance.
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Sometimes the condition’s spots can indicate a cancerous tumor in the stomach, colon, or liver, although it is more likely just a sign of diabetes.
While there aren’t any treatments available for the condition, some lifestyle changes can help the dark spots vanish. Losing weight, for example, can help lighten the areas. However, this is only true if your condition was brought about by excess weight in the first place.
Surgery and some creams can also help decrease the dark areas’ visibility.
Certain groups are more predisposed to the condition than others. The more obese you are, the more likely you are to develop the condition, but studies also show the illness tends to affect Native Americans more than other ethnic groups. In addition, some types of the condition can be inherited.
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It is recommended that you pay a visit to a medical professional if any anomaly on the skin is discovered.
Arianne Shadi Kourosh, M.D., Director of Community Health for the Department of Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital and faculty at Harvard Medical School, told The Huffington Post that any skin change is worth a visit to the dermatologist over.
She explains that while the skin blemish is likely to be benign, in the chance it is a sign of a serious illness, early detection can possible save one’s life.