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  Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 284-287  

Association of skin tag with metabolic syndrome and its components: A case–control study from Eastern India


Department of Dermatology, IMS and SUM Hospital, Shampur, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Date of Web Publication17-May-2019

Correspondence Address:
Bhabani S.T.P Singh
Department of Dermatology, IMS and SUM Hospital, Shampur, Bhubaneswar - 751 003, Odisha
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/idoj.IDOJ_238_18

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   Abstract 


Background: Skin tags are benign polyps, usually found in the natural folds of the skin. Some studies have found an association of skin tags with obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and atherogenic lipid profile. Metabolic syndrome refers to co-occurrence of these cardiovascular risk factors such as insulin resistance, obesity, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. Aims and Objectives: To find out any possible association of skin tags with metabolic syndrome and its components. Materials and Methods: A case–control study was conducted including 140 participants. Seventy patients with skin tags were considered cases, and 70 age- and sex-matched patients without skin tags were considered as controls. Various anthropometric and biochemical parameters were compared and analyzed between the two groups. Results: Univariate analysis revealed significantly higher waist circumference, high triglyceride, and low high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) in cases compared to controls. The prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome was significantly higher in patients with skin tags, and risk of developing metabolic syndrome was 11.13 times higher in cases compared to controls (P < 0.05). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed high waist circumference and low serum HDL had significant association with skin tags. Conclusion: Risk of development of metabolic syndrome is significantly higher in patients with skin tags. Among the various components of metabolic syndrome, only high waist circumference and low serum HDLs are significantly associated with skin tags.

Keywords: Diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, skin tags


How to cite this article:
Tripathy T, Singh BS, Kar BR. Association of skin tag with metabolic syndrome and its components: A case–control study from Eastern India. Indian Dermatol Online J 2019;10:284-7

How to cite this URL:
Tripathy T, Singh BS, Kar BR. Association of skin tag with metabolic syndrome and its components: A case–control study from Eastern India. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Jun 27];10:284-7. Available from: http://www.idoj.in/text.asp?2019/10/3/284/258589




   Introduction Top


Skin tags are benign growths that are usually seen in the body folds. Metabolic syndrome refers to the concurrence of several features such as insulin resistance, obesity, dyslipidemia, and hypertension which share common pathophysiology. It predisposes patients to cardiovascular diseases and remains one of the common preventable health hazards. Metabolic syndrome being multifactorial may have regional and ethnic variations in its associations. This study is a case–control study to show possible association of skin tags with metabolic syndrome and its components in eastern India.


   Materials and Methods Top


This was a case–control study conducted from July 2012 to May 2015 at a tertiary care hospital in eastern India. The study included 140 participants: 70 patients with at least three skin tags were taken as cases and an equal number of age- and sex-matched patients without skin tags as controls. Control group was randomly selected from the same outpatient department with unrelated dermatological illness. Considering a prevalence of 25 skin tag patients per 1000 outpatient cases in our institute, the sample size with a 95% confidence interval was calculated to be 72.

Exclusion criteria

  1. Age less than 18 years
  2. Pregnancy, lactation, and postpartum period up to 1 year
  3. Endocrinopathies such as Cushing' syndrome and hypothyroidism
  4. Patients on systemic steroids >3 weeks, hormones, or drugs causing dyslipidemia.


History and examination

Thorough history of diabetes, hypertension, lipid abnormalities, and concurrent medications for the above illness and family history of skin tag were obtained. Skin tag number, site, size, and color were noted. As adapted and modified from Kahana et al. and Safoury et al., the number of skin tags was classified as few (3–4), moderate (5–10), and many (>10).[1],[2] The skin tags were classified according to their size as very early (visible not felt), small (projection of <0.5 cm), medium (0.5–1 cm), and large (>1 cm). The location of the skin tags was noted. Categorization of skin tags into flesh colored, hyperpigmented, or of a mixed color was done. Mixed color meant presence of both flesh colored and hyperpigmented skin tags in the same anatomical location.

Height, weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure of cases and controls were listed. Fasting blood glucose, plasma cholesterol and triglycerides (TGs), plasma high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) were measured in all participants. The metabolic syndrome parameters were recorded according to the guidelines of the International Diabetes Federation consensus worldwide definition.[3] All statistical calculations were done using computer program Microsoft Excel 2007 and Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS) version 16 for Microsoft Windows.


   Results Top


The mean age of patients with skin tag was 43.86 ± 9.79 years with the highest number of patients (40%) presenting to us in the fifth decade of life. The number of patients with skin tags increased with increase in age up to 50 years with a decline thereafter. Males outnumbered females with a ratio of 1.69:1. The average duration of skin tag at the time of presentation was 20.02 ± 10.54 months. Demographic characteristics and biochemical profile of cases and controls are shown in [Table 1].
Table 1: Demographic and biochemical characteristics of cases and controls

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A total of 1199 skin tags were studied with a mean number of 17.12. Neck was the commonest site involved, followed by axilla. Other less common sites were eyelids, perineum, retro auricular area, thigh, breast, nipple, infraclavicular area, and face other than eyelid. Most of the patients had skin tags of all three colors. Majority of the skin tags were less than 0.5 cm (60.13%). Few (2%) skin tags were more than 1 cm. A family history of skin tag was present in 40% of cases [Table 2]. We did not find any association between different age groups or gender with various skin tag characteristics such as number, color, or length.
Table 2: Skin tag characteristics of patients

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In addition, no significant difference of skin tag characteristics was found between patients with and without metabolic syndrome on statistical analysis.

Our study results showed that the relative risk of developing metabolic syndrome in patients with skin tag was 11.13 times higher than controls (P = 0.001). The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was significantly higher in cases compared to controls. Also, greater number of cases had raised blood pressure compared to controls. Prevalence of diabetes mellitus was more in patients with skin tags (P < 0.05). The mean waist circumference and mean serum TG were significantly higher in cases compared to controls. Patients with skin tags had low mean serum HDL in cases compared to controls (P < 0.05). Although the mean fasting plasma glucose was higher in cases compared to controls, this difference was not statistically significant.

Step-wise multivariate logistic regression of metabolic syndrome components with the occurrence of skin tag showed that only increased waist circumference (odds ratio = 1.122, 95% confidence interval for odds ratio 1.006–1.181, P= 0.0001) and low serum level of HDL (odds ratio = 0.787, 95% confidence interval for odds ratio 0.7160.865, P = 0.0001) were statistically significant (P = 0.0001) [Table 3]. None of the other metabolic syndrome components had significant association with the number of skin tags.
Table 3: Step-wise multivariate logistic regression analysis of the presence of skin tag for the components of metabolic syndrome

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   Discussion Top


In our study, the mean age of patients with skin tag was 43.86 ± 9.79 years. Our study showed an increase in the number of patients up to age 50 years and after that there was a decline, similar to the observation by Thappa.[4] In our study, males outnumbered females similar to few other studies.[4],[5] However, many authors also observed a female predominance.[6],[7],[8]

Neck was the most frequent site with skin tags in our study. We found skin colored skin tag to be the commonest type. Sessile skin tags were more compared to pedunculated type in our study. Unusual sites such as genitalia with giant skin tags have also been reported,[9] but we did not find any.

We did not find any difference in skin tag characteristics such as number, localization, and color in different age groups or gender similar to the results by Shah et al.[10]

Prevalence of metabolic syndrome was significantly higher in patients with skin tags compared to controls, similar to the observation by Shenoy et al. and Safoury et al.[11],[12]

The risk of developing metabolic syndrome was 11.13 times higher in cases compared to controls; however, we were unable to find similar data from other studies.

Among the components of metabolic syndrome, increased waist circumference and low serum level of HDL contribute significantly for the development of skin tags when analyzed by stepwise multivariate analysis. Agmia et al. and Safoury et al. in contrast to our study, found significant association of skin tags with high TG levels and low HDL levels.[11],[13]

In the univariate analysis of components of metabolic syndrome, higher waist circumference, high TGs, and low HDL were observed among cases compared to controls (P < 0.05), similar to Shah et al., Safoury et al., and Agamia et al.[10],[11],[13] Although mean fasting plasma glucose was higher in cases when compared to controls, the difference was not statistically significant which is in accordance with the study by Shenoy et al., Maluki et al., and Wali et al.[12],[14],[15] However, other studies have found significantly higher fasting plasma glucose in cases compared to controls at significant level.[10],[11],[13],[16] The prevalence of hypertension was significantly higher in patients with skin tags, in accordance with the results by Sari et al. and Senel et al.; however, Safoury et al., did not observe such difference.

The lipid profile status in this study showed significantly higher cholesterol and TG levels and lower HDL levels in cases compared to controls similar to the observations made by Safoury et al., Sari et al., and Senel et al.[7],[11],[16] In contrast, Gorpelioglu et al. found significantly higher total cholesterol and LDL levels in cases compared to controls (P < 0.01).[6]

In our study, multivariate linear regression analysis of the metabolic syndrome components with the number of skin tags showed no significant association between the two. Shaheen et al. found that waist circumference correlated with the number of skin tags.[17] Rasi et al. found a positive correlation between the total number of skin tags and the mean fasting plasma glucose.[18] We did not find any significant association between various skin tag characteristics such as color, localization, and length with metabolic syndrome on statistical analysis. Similar results were obtained by Shah et al.[10]

Significant association of various components of metabolic syndrome in patients with skin tags compared to control in different studies is given in [Table 4].
Table 4: Comparison of different study results showing association of skin tags with various metabolic syndrome components

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   Conclusion Top


The risk of developing metabolic syndrome is significantly higher in patients with skin tags. Presence of metabolic syndrome is independent of number, color, and size of skin tags. Among all the parameters of metabolic syndrome, only high waist circumference and low HDL have significant association with the presence of skin tags. Hence, patients with skin tags should be carefully evaluated for blood sugar, lipid profile, blood pressure, and other components of metabolic syndrome. They should be counselled regarding the predisposition for metabolic syndrome and necessary lifestyle modification to decrease the cardiovascular complications.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Kahana M, Grossman E, Feinstein A, Ronnen M, Cohen M, Millet MS. Skin tags: A cutaneous markers for diabetes mellitus. Acta Derm Venereol 1987;67:175-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
El Safoury OS, Ibrahim M. A clinical evaluation of skin tags in relation to obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, age, and sex. Indian J Dermatol 2011;56:3930-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Alberti KG, Zimmet P, Shaw J. Metabolic syndrome – A new world-wide definition. A consensus statement from the International Diabetes Federation. Diabet Med 2006;23:469-80.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Thappa DM. Skin tags as markers of diabetes mellitus: An epidemiological study in India. J Dermatol 1995;22:729-31.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Banik R, Lubach D. Skin tags: Localization and frequencies according to sex and age. Dermatologica 1987;174:180-3.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Gorpelioglu C, Erdal E, Ardicoglu Y, Adam B, Sarifakioglu E. Serum leptin, atherogenic lipids and glucose levels in patients with skin tags. Indian J Dermatol 2009;54:20-2.  Back to cited text no. 6
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
7.
Sari R, Akman A, Alpsoy E, Balci MK. The metabolic profile in patients with skin tags. Clin Exp Med 2010;10:193-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Akpinar F, Dervis E. Association between acrochordons and the components of metabolic syndrome. Eur J Dermatol 2012;22:106-10.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Gorai S, Saha A, Misra P, Nag S. Broad based giant fibroepithelial polyp over an unusual location: A report. Indian Dermatol Online J 2016;7:548-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
10.
Shah R, Jindal A, Patel NM. Acrochordons as a cutaneous sign of metabolic syndrome: A case-control study. Ann Med Health Sci Res 2014;4:202-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
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11.
El Safoury OS, Abdel Hay RM, Fawzy MM, Kadry D, Amin IM, Abu Zeid OM, et al. Skin tags, leptin, metabolic syndrome and change of the life style. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2011;77:577-80.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Shenoy C, Shenoy MM, Krishna S, Pinto M. Skin tags are not merely cosmetic: A study on its association with metabolic syndrome. Int J Health Allied Sci 2016;5:50-2.  Back to cited text no. 12
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13.
Agamia NF, Gomaa SH. Assessment of serum leptin, atherogenic lipids, glucose level, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in patients with skin tags. Egypt J Dermatol Venerol 2014;34:58-64.  Back to cited text no. 13
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14.
Maluki AH, Abdullah AA. Metabolic associations with skin tags. Int J Dermatol Clin Res 2016;2:3-11.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Wali V, Wali VV. Assessment of various biochemical parameters and BMI in patients with skin tags. J Clin Diagn Res 2016;10:BC09-11.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Senel E, Salmanoglu M, Solmazgul E, Bercik Inal B. Acrochordons as a cutaneous sign of impaired carbohydrate metabolism, hyperlipidemia, liver enzyme abnormalities and hypertension: A case–control study. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2011;27:2637-43.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Shaheen MA, Abdel Fattah NS, Sayed YA, Saad AA. Assessment of serum leptin, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in patients with skin tags. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2012;26:1552-7.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
Rasi A, Soltani-Arabshahi R, Shahbazi N. Skin tag as a cutaneous marker for impaired carbohydrate metabolism: A case-control study. Int J Dermatol 2007;46:1155-9.  Back to cited text no. 18
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]



 

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