Clinical Edge

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Risk of Psoriasis in Patients with Abdominal Obesity

In a nationwide population-based study of patients with newly diagnosed psoriasis, waist circumference (WC) was shown to be a specific factor affecting psoriatic risk. Researchers investigated the impact of body mass index (BMI) and WC on psoriasis. Among the details:

  • The total study population consisted of 22,633,536 individuals, among whom 399,461 had newly developed psoriasis.
  • Those with BMI >30 had a higher risk of psoriasis compared with the BMI 18.5-23 group.
  • WC showed a dose-dependent association with psoriatic risk.
  • The risk of psoriasis was highest in males with normal BMI and abdominal obesity.

Han JH, et al. Increased risk of psoriasis in subjects with abdominal obesity: A nationwide population-based study. [Published online ahead of print May 31, 2019]. J Dermatol. doi: 10.1111/1346-8138.14939.


This study supports other findings that BMI is associated with risk of psoriasis. The relationship between obesity related measurements such as waist circumference could suggest that central adiposity may play an important role in psoriasis development. Visceral fat produces adipokines such as leptin, visfatin, and resistin which are increased in psoriasis patients and have pro-inflammatory activities. In addition, resident macrophages within adipose tissue produce inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor and IL-6 which contributes to insulin resistance as well. Health care providers should instruct patients with psoriasis who have metabolic syndrome to lose weight which could potentially aid the in the treatment of the psoriasis. —Paul S. Yamauchi, MD, PhD; Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Division of Dermatology; Adjunct Associate Professor John Wayne Cancer Institute.