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Vitiligo
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Vitiligo is defined as a pigmentation disorder in which melanocytes, that is the cells that make pigment in the skin, the mucous membranes and the retina are destroyed. Due to this the white patches of skin appear on different parts of the body. It has been noted that even the hair, which grows in areas affected by vitiligo usually, turns white in colour.

Causes of Vitiligo

There are various theories known to the causing Vitiligo. But the exact cause of Vitiligo is not that sure. One therapy says that the people develop antibodies, which destroys the melanocytes in their own bodies.

Another theory suggests that the melanocytes destroy themselves. Moreover, there are certain conditions, such as sunburn, which causes Vitiligo. Vitiligo is also triggered by emotional distress. Vitiligo disorder is seen to affect all races is seen to affect all races and both males and females are equally affected.

Vitiligo is also common in people suffering from various autoimmune diseases, that is, the disease in which a person’s immune system reacts against the body’s own organs or tissues. Various autoimmune diseases are like hyper thyroid gland, Pernicious anaemia that is a low level of red blood cells caused by failure of the body to absorb vitamin B12.

Heredity plays an important role in the development of Vitiligo. It is seen to run in families. Children whose parents have the disorder are more likely to develop vitiligo.

Symptoms of Vitiligo

The first and the most important sign of Vitiligo is the development of white patches on the skin. Such patches are more common in sun-exposed areas like the hands, feet, arms, face and lips.

White patches of vitiligo may also appear on the armpits and groin area. It may also be seen around the mouth, eyes, nostrils, navel and genital area. Vitiligo patches may or may not spread. In some people, such patches do not spread at all.

But in others, the disorder is progressive in nature and over sometime the white patches spread to other areas of the body. In some persons, vitiligo spread very rapidly while in others it spread slowly thus taking many years. Vitiligo normally appears in one of three patterns.

In one pattern, that is the focal pattern, the depigmentation is seen in once or few areas. In case of segmental pattern, some people develop depigmented patches on only one side of their bodies. But many people who have vitiligo, depigmentation occurs on different parts of the body and it is known as generalized pattern.

Along with the white patches on skin, people with vitiligo may also have premature graying of the scalp hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, and beard. People with dark skin may develop a loss of colour inside their mouths. The change in appearance caused by vitiligo generally affect a person’s emotional and psychological well. Some people having vitiligo feel embarrassed, ashamed or depressed.

Treatment of Vitiligo

The main aim of treating vitiligo is to restore the function of the skin and to improve the patient’s appearance. Treatment options for vitiligo are like medical, surgical and adjunctive therapies. Steroids may be helpful in repigmenting the skin that is returning the colour to white patches. Psoralen photo chemotherapy is also known to be the beneficial treatment for vitiligo.

It also repigment the white patches. But is time consuming and care must be taken to avoid side effects, which can be too revere. The treatment involves taking psoralen by mouth (orally) or applying it to the skin, that is topical application.

All surgical therapies must be considered as experimental because their effectiveness and side effects remain too long. Micro pigmentation, autologous skin Grafts, can also be used.



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