Increased Risk of Metabolic Syndrome in Patients with Vitiligo

Balkan Med J. 2017 May 5;34(3):219-225. doi: 10.4274/balkanmedj.2016.1005. Epub 2017 Apr 6.


Background: Inflammatory and immune processes can be triggered in vitiligo due to a decreased number of melanocytes and their anti-inflammatory effects. Because of the systemic nature of vitiligo, metabolic abnormalities such as insulin resistance and lipid profile disturbances as well as skin involvement may be observed in vitiligo.

Aims: To investigate the association between metabolic syndrome and vitiligo.

Study design: Case-control study.

Methods: The demographic, clinical and laboratory features in the subjects were compared according to presence of vitiligo and metabolic syndrome [patients (n=63) vs. gender-age matched controls (n=65) and metabolic syndrome positive (n=38) vs. negative (n=90)]. A logistic regression analysis was also used.

Results: We identified metabolic syndrome in 24 (38.1%) subjects with vitiligo and 14 (21.5%) subjects without vitiligo (p=0.04). Active vitiligo, segmental vitiligo, an increased duration of vitiligo and an increased percentage in the affected body surface area were determined to be independent predictors of metabolic syndrome [activity of vitiligo: p=0.012, OR (95% CI)=64.4 (2.5-1672); type of vitiligo: p=0.007, OR (95% CI)=215.1 (4.3-10725.8); duration of vitiligo: p=0.03, OR (95% CI)=1.4 (1.1-2.0); percentage of affected body surface area: p=0.07, OR (95% CI)=1.2 (0.98-1.5)].

Conclusion: The risk of developing metabolic syndrome is increased in patients with vitiligo. The poor clinical features of vitiligo, such as active, extended and segmental vitiligo with an increased duration of time, are independent predictors for developing metabolic syndrome.

Keywords: Metabolic syndrome; vitiligo screening..

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cholesterol, HDL / analysis
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Dermatology / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Melanocytes / metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Triglycerides / analysis
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Vitiligo / complications*
  • Vitiligo / epidemiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Triglycerides