Skin manifestations of obesity: a comparative study

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BackgroundObesity is one of the world’s biggest health problems nowadays. Little research has been done on the skin diseases that affect obese patients.ObjectiveTo study the prevalence of skin manifestations in obese patients compared with a control group of normal-weight patients.MethodsA total of 76 obese patients [body mass index (BMI) ≥30 kg/m2] and 73 with normal-weight volunteers (BMI 18.5–24.9 kg/m2) were included in the study and had their complete medical history and skin examination evaluated by the same examiner. All patients were investigated for the presence of metabolic syndrome.ResultsThe dermatoses that showed a statistically significant relationship with obesity, compared with the control group were: striae (P < 0.001), plantar hyperkeratosis (P < 0.001), acrochordons (P = 0.007), intertrigo (P < 0.001), pseudoacanthosis nigricans (P < 0.001), keratosis pilaris (P = 0.006), lymphedema (P = 0.002) and bacterial infections (P = 0.05). The presence of striae, pseudoacanthosis nigricans and bacterial infections were also found to be correlated with the degree of obesity.ConclusionsObesity is strongly related to several skin alterations that could be considered as markers of excessive weight. Skin care of obese patients deserves particular attention, not only because of the high prevalence of cutaneous alteration but mainly because many of these disorders are preventable and could be treated, improving patient’s quality of life.

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