What is Vitiligo:
Vitiligo is a chronic disease caused by partial or total destruction of the cells that produce skin pigment (melanin), they are no longer recognized by the immune system as belonging to the body. Vitiligo is one of the most common skin discoloration, affecting about 1-2% of the population. Although, without being a threatening disease , it affects by the psychological impact that it has on individuals. The onset of disease is 20 years and is often associated with other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid dysfunction, diabetes mellitus type 1, pernicious anemia (vitamin B12 deficiency), alopecia areata, lupus erythematosus, psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis. The disease is not contagious and is not inherited but can be inherited a predisposition to it. Vitiligo is characterized by a total depigmentation of the skin which leads to the formation of white plates , quite unseemly, mainly on the face, neck, hands, feet or on joints.
Vitiligo causes and symptoms:
Vitiligo can be caused by a number of factors – autoimmune, oxidative stress (excess of hydrogen peroxide), neurotrophic (interaction of melanocytes and the nervous system) and toxic (substances formed in the normal production of melanin that are actually toxic for melanocytes ). The mechanism involves progressive destruction of certain melanocytes probably by cytotoxic lymphocytes. There is also the opinion that vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system sees the pigment cells in the skin as some foreign bodies and attack them.The basis for this autoimmune disorder is believed to be a genetic. Stress, traumatic events, wounds and severe sunburns can trigger vitiligo appearance in those who are susceptible.
Determining the appropriate treatment for a patient depends on the extent of vitiligo patches.
Currently, as treatments we have steroid creams, phototherapy and surgery (autologous graft of healthy skin). For patients with a stretch of up to 15% of the body, there are few therapeutic options such as corticosteroids (eg. Clobetasol), calcipotriol and topical immunomodulators (eg. Elidel, Protopic). Phototherapy is another option for treating vitiligo on limited areas. For this, laser units are available or ultraviolet. When vitiligo affects more than 15-20% of the body, the narrow band UVB therapy is the most effective solution. Surgery is an option for patients with focal vitiligo and stable segment that have not responded to other forms of treatment.
Worldwide, Vitiligo, whose origin could be genetic (about 10 genes are involved) or generated by a violent stress affects on average 5 people in a thousand, regardless of gender or skin color. Vitiligo has a similar frequency in all skin types. The psychological effects are devastating for all persons affected , especially for patients with black skin.
This blog post is an educational resource only and does not replace a medical consultation with a doctor .
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