A skin disorder, vitiligo can be brought on by various precipitating causes.
Although the condition can develop at any age, its signs often first appear between the ages of 20 and 30.
Most individuals with this disorder are otherwise healthy and have normal skin sensation and texture.
However, vitiligo may be more common in people that have certain autoimmune diseases.
These diseases may include vitamin B-12 deficiency anemia known as pernicious anemia, Addison’s disease, or thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Vitiligo also has a potential to affect all races and both sexes equally. It is a common skin disorder in which the pigment-producing cells of the skin (melanocytes) are absent or demonstrate lack of activity.
As a result, lighter depigmented patches of skin (target lesions) appear in different parts of the body due to the lack of melanin (pigment).
Between 0.1-2% of the global population is affected by vitiligo affecting all races. The condition can cause significant psychological and emotional distress.
The primary sign of the condition is the loss of pigment that gives color to the skin. Hair growing from the vitiligo-affected-areas also lacks color and appears as grey.
Moreover, individuals with this disorder may get pigment abnormalities of the iris or retina of the eyes. Therefore, it is necessary to combat the other ailments that the condition brings along.
It is a condition in which the skin loses its pigment cells (melanocytes). This can result in discolored patches in different areas of the body, including the skin, hair, retina and mucous membranes.
Once the condition is diagnosed, its treatment becomes indispensable. However, the natural course of the disorder is difficult to predict.
Sometimes vitiligo marks stop forming without treatment, but in most cases, pigment loss involves most of the surface of your skin.
The exact cause of the condition is still a mystery to the medical world. But, it’s often believed that stress, general low immunity level, and hormonal connection are amongst several precipitating factors for this ailment.
The occurrence of the skin disorder is about 28% is hereditary, 30% is worms infested, and 42 % is stress related.
Vitiligo patches appear with well-defined edges because of peripheral hyperchromia. The condition develops in one of three patterns which are:
- Focal Pattern
- Segmental Pattern
- Generalized Pattern
In the focal pattern, the pigment loss is limited to only a few areas. In a segmental pattern, the signs of vitiligo appear as de-pigmented patches on just one side of the individuals’ bodies.
While, in a generalized pattern, de-pigmentation occurs in different parts of the body. In addition to appearing as pale/white patches on the skin, individuals with vitiligo may also have premature graying of the eyelashes, eyebrows, beard, and scalp hair.
Individuals with dark skin may even notice a loss of color inside their mouths. People who develop the comdition usually first see milky white marks on the skin of their bodies.
The pale marks may develop on your eyes, face, neck, armpits, elbows, hands, genitalia, or knees. The marks are more common in sun-exposed areas such as the face, lips, hands, and arms.
The loss of skin pigment may be rapid during the early stages of the disorder. People who develop vitiligo have no itching, pain or other signs.
Upon seeing any of the signs mentioned above, consult the doctor immediately. It is essential to know whether the patient or anyone in his/her family has had any autoimmune diseases or whether the patient is sensitive to the sun.
Moreover, it’s also necessary to know patient’s medical history which includes sunburn, a rash or other skin trauma at the area of vitiligo 2 to 3 months before de-pigmentation began; physical illness or stress; and premature graying of the hair before 35 years of age, etc.
When you notice white patches on your skin, you might want to visit a dermatologist immediately to find out if you have a skin condition characterized by the loss of pigment.
This happens when melanocytes, the cells responsible for the production of melanin, the pigment that gives our skin its normal color, are destroyed or unable to function normally.
Every white patch may not be of Vitiligo and may develop because of liver disorders, taenia infection, worms, calcium deficiency or even Leprosy.
So, it’s always a wise move to consult the doctor immediately upon seeing white patches on your skin. Generally, when somebody finds white patches on his skin, then it is a clear indication of vitiligo.
You'll often lose pigment quickly on several areas of your skin. After the white patches appear, they may stay the same for a while, but later on, they might get bigger. You may have cycles of pigment loss and stability.
Normally, these particular white patches found on are like:
- Around the Mouth
- Rectal areas
Depigmentation occurs symmetrically on both sides of the body, and this is the most general type.
To clear identification or diagnosis, we have to give a small sample of our affected skin to doctor.
It will be examined under the microscope, and if our skin sample is without pigment melanocytes, than there is no vitiligo but if inflamed cells are present in our sample skin that it may recommend some other reasons cause that pigmentation.
Pernicious anemia or hyperthyroidism are often connected with the condition, and it is for this reason that sometimes doctor check a sample of blood-cell.
An eye examination is also recommended to some people to check for verities which now and then happens from vitiligo.
A remedy for the condition is still a highly-researched and changing area. Treatment depends on the level of the problem, and also how much the sufferer can pay for, as numerous remedies are usually very costly.