Association of acanthosis nigricans with hyperinsulinemia compared with other selected risk factors for type 2 diabetes in Cherokee Indians: the Cherokee Diabetes Study

Martha L Stoddart, Kathleen S Blevins, Elisa T Lee, Wenyu Wang, Piers R Blackett
Diabetes Care 2002, 25 (6): 1009-14

OBJECTIVE: To report prevalence rates of acanthosis nigricans (AN) and hyperinsulinemia and the association of AN with hyperinsulinemia compared with other known or suspected risk factors for type 2 diabetes in young American Indians.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A random sample of Cherokee Nation members aged 5-40 years was invited to participate in the Cherokee Diabetes Study, a cross-sectional study of type 2 diabetes and its risk factors in a young American Indian population. Data were collected by personal interview, medical history, physical examination (including anthropometric and blood pressure measurements and examination of the neck for AN), and laboratory analyses of blood specimens. Levels of insulin, lipids, and glucose were measured on fasting blood specimens. Diabetes status was determined according to the American Diabetes Association criteria.

RESULTS: A total of 2,205 participants were examined. Overall prevalence rates for AN and hyperinsulinemia were 34.2 and 47.2%, respectively. In general, the rates for both increased with age and degree of Indian heritage and were higher in female subjects, overweight/obese individuals, those with type 2 diabetes, and those with a parental history of type 2 diabetes. In addition, both had significantly higher age- and sex-adjusted means for selected known or suspected risk factors for type 2 diabetes. AN remained significantly associated with hyperinsulinemia (P = 0.0001) in multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: AN is independently associated with hyperinsulinemia and therefore may be useful as an early indicator of high risk for diabetes.

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