BMI tied to hidradenitis suppurativa risk


A recent Danish study examines the connection between body mass index (BMI) and the risk of developing hidradenitis suppurativa in adulthood.

A recent study in JAMA Dermatology indicates that body mass index (BMI) may play a role in the risk of hidradenitis suppurativa, a painful dermatologic condition characterized by small painful lumps, in adulthood.1

Investigators created a cohort study that included 347,200 children from the Copenhagen School Health Records Register who were born from 1930 to 1996 and were linked to the Danish National Patient Register of hospital discharges, which was used to identify cases of hidradenitis suppurativa. Parents or guardians reported birth weight, and childhood height and weight were reported by school nurses and doctors.

During the follow-up period of 1977 to 2017, 1037 adults had been diagnosed hidradenitis suppurativa. Investigators found a nonlinear, U-shaped association between birth weight and hidradenitis suppurativa and both the lightest (2.00-2.75 kg) and the heaviest (4.26-5.50 kg) babies when compared with normal-weight babies (3.26-3.75 kg). The risk of hidradenitis suppurativa also increased significantly with increasing BMI z-score at each age from 7 to 13 years. When compared with children who were normal weight at ages 7 and 13 years, children who were normal weight at age 7 years and overweight at age 13 years had a significantly increased risk of hidradenitis suppurativa. Children who were overweight at both ages also had an increased risk of hidradenitis suppurativa. Height did not have any association with a risk of hidradenitis suppurativa.

Researchers concluded that childhood BMI was tied to increased risk of hidradenitis suppurativa and BMI had significant positive association with developing the condition during adulthood. They also said that children who were never overweight but had a period with a higher weight in childhood appeared to reduce the risk of hidradenitis suppurativa by returning to normal weight before the beginning of puberty.


1. Jørgensen AR, Aarestrup J, Baker JL, Thomsen SF. Association of birth weight, childhood body mass index, and height with risk of hidradenitis suppurativa. JAMA Dermatol. April 29, 2020. Epub ahead of print. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2020.1047

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