Psoriasis Risk Associated With New-Onset and Continuous Metabolic Syndrome

Doctor measuring an overweight man’s waist using a tape measure.
The relationship between risk for psoriasis and changes in metabolic syndrome (MetS) status are examined.

The risk for psoriasis is greater in patients with newly diagnosed metabolic syndrome (MetS) and in those with continuous MetS, compared with control individuals, according to study findings published in Scientific Reports.

Researchers evaluated associations between psoriasis risk and changes in MetS components with use of data from the Korean National Health Insurance Service database.

The cohort comprised 5,644,324 adults who had health examinations that included MetS components in 2009 and in 2012. Participants were categorized into 4 groups: those without MetS in 2009 and 2012 (control; n = 3,439,976); those with MetS in 2009 but not in 2012 (pre-MetS; n = 430,044); those without MetS in 2009 but with new-onset diagnosis in 2012 (post-MetS; n = 752,360); and those with MetS from 2009 to 2012 (continuous MetS; n = 1,021,944).

The average ages in each group were 46.91 ± 12.28 years in the control group (58% men), 54.22 ± 12.62 years in the pre-MetS group (63.7% men), 53.41 ± 12.63 years in the post-MetS group (61.0% men), and 58.86 ± 12.04 years in the continuous-MetS group (53.8% men).

The study authors compared health examination results in 2009 and 2012 in the 4 groups. The overall mean follow-up was 1.40 ± 0.4 years.

The risk for psoriasis did not increase significantly in the pre-MetS group (hazard ratio [HR], 1.00; 95% CI, 0.96-1.05), but it did increase significantly in the post-MetS (HR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.05-1.12) and continuous (HR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.07-1.15) groups, compared with the control group.

For the waist circumference component, significant increases were observed for psoriasis risk in the pre-MetS (HR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.00-1.11), post-MetS (HR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.04-1.14), and continuous-MetS (HR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.10-1.20) groups vs the control group, after adjustment for age, sex, smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise, and body mass index.

Regarding triglyceride and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the risk for psoriasis increased only in the post-MetS and continuous-MetS groups, and the risks for psoriasis were similar in all groups for fasting blood glucose. Also, for the blood pressure component, the risk for psoriasis decreased in the pre-MetS and continuous-MetS groups.

The researchers noted that coding or misclassification errors could have occurred and the study lacked information on genetic factors and drug history. Also, the analysis included only patients with psoriasis who had received prescription medications and treatments from physicians or dermatologists after being diagnosed with psoriasis, and patients with mild disease may have been omitted.

“Our study differs from prior investigations because we focused on MetS diagnosis changes, and our results can help to better elucidate the association between psoriasis and MetS,” stated the study authors. “Remarkably, the risk of psoriasis was higher in patients with continuous- or post-MetS than in those without MetS (regardless of prior MetS status). Therefore, we emphasize the need to explain these findings to patients.”


Lee HJ, Han KD, Park HE, et al. Changes in metabolic syndrome and risk of psoriasis: a nationwide population‑based study. Sci Rep. 2021;11(1):24043. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-03174-2