Skin folds give the flex needed to move joints and muscles. Interestingly, these bodily creases are also a barometer of one’s health.
Online game streamer Giovanni Pacanza didn’t realize he was harming himself from playing too much on a computer or smartphone until his gaming opponents started taunting him for his dark nape and neckline. Pacanza ignored the bullying at first but later consulted a doctor when skin whitening soaps did not remedy the condition.
The doctor’s finding was that he has Acanthosis nigricans or insulin resistance. Dermatologist Jean Marquez explained the body produces too much insulin due to high blood sugar. High level of insulin in turn stimulates skin pigmentation and discoloration in dermal folds like what Pacanza has.
The bad news is that Acanthosis nigricans is a symptom of pre-diabetes. As Pacanza just sits almost all day fidgeting with his smartphone, such lack of activity doesn’t burn calories. From 100 kilos before the Covid-19 pandemic, the gamer’s weight increased to 134 kilos, according to him. As per the doctor’s advice to the now obese guy, he is now going on a diet and resumed biking to shed weight and avoid becoming a diabetic. Reduced weight may also get rid of fat and skin folds, particularly the dark ones.
Meanwhile, skin folds can also hold clues to a condition more serious than Acanthosis nigricans. Thai researchers already developed a testing technology to detect signs in the skin of Covid-19 infection faster and cheaper than the prevailing tests.
The coronavirus can be detected from nasal secretions by swabbing the back of the nose and throat. It can also be detected in the blood through an antigen test.
Less invasive and less expensive than antigen and swab tests is testing the saliva for signs of the virus. Sniffing dogs can also detect Covid infection through a person’s scent, but subject to confirmatory antigen, saliva or swab tests.
The latest Covid test developed by Thai scientists is based on the device that detects toxic chemicals in the environment, but it is still awaiting official approval and rollout. It is cheaper, less invasive and the result can be released in 30 seconds.
Collecting the bodily fluid takes longer though as a dry cotton swab has to be soaked under the arms for 15 minutes to obtain enough sweat to be analyzed for the presence of coronavirus.
For some patients, their sweat may smell sour and intolerable. If sweat swabbers find it annoying, they should just think that their sense of smell is still there and working, which likely means the coronavirus has not desensitized their nasal function.