Research Finds Sex Differences in Links Between Psoriasis and Metabolic Disorders

There are significant sex differences in links between psoriasis and metabolic disorders, according to a study published this week.

There are significant sex differences in links between psoriasis and metabolic disorders, according to a study published this week.

It is already known that psoriasis is linked to cardiovascular risk factors and an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and metabolic diseases (MetS), but the extent of sex differences are not known.

Researchers used data from the Heinz Nixdorf Recall (Risk factors, Evaluation of Coronary Calcium and Lifestyle) study, a population‐based, ongoing cohort study in Western Germany. Between 2000 and 2003, 3723 men (45.9%) and women (54.1%) aged 45—75 years were randomly selected. Overall, the prevalence of psoriasis was 3.8% (n = 143), with no differences between sex.

While researchers observed more metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors in women with psoriasis compared to women without psoriasis, in men, this pattern was partly reversed.

According to the analysis, 25.8% of the women had metabolic syndrome, and the prevalence was higher in women with psoriasis than without (36.8% versus 25.4%). In addition, more women with psoriasis had diabetes (12%) than those without psoriasis (5%).

The prevalence of metabolic syndrome in men was 37.9%, and men with psoriasis had metabolic syndrome less often than men without psoriasis (27% versus 38%).

The prevalence of diabetes was slightly higher in men with psoriasis compared with men without psoriasis (12% versus 8%).

There were some limitations to the study. Diagnosis of psoriasis was based on self reports and the reports of using medications for psoriasis may also be inaccurate. In addition, there was no information about the severity of psoriasis.

“A knowledge of such mechanisms in gene transcription, intracellular signalling, organelle function and interorgan crosstalk could reveal new targets that may be used for the activation or inhibition of specific aspects of the cardiovascular system that are linked to sex hormones or other differences between men and women,” the researchers wrote. “The reasons behind the unexpected comparably low cardiometabolic risk in males with psoriasis compared to males without psoriasis in our cohort urgently need to be examined in further studies.”

“Our results emphasize the urgent need for sex‐specific research, studying the effects of psoriasis on metabolic disorders as well as effective sex tailored prevention measures,” the authors concluded.


Sondermann W. Djeudeu Deudjui DA, Körber A, et al. Psoriasis, cardiovascular risk factors and metabolic disorders: sex-specific findings of a population-based study [published online December 3, 2019]. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. doi: 10.1111/jdv.16029.

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