What Is Vitiligo? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 19:37
According to the MayoClinic Staff, Vitiligo (vit-ih-LI-go) is a condition in which your skin loses melanin, the pigment that determines the color of your skin, hair and eyes. Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or no longer form melanin, causing slowly enlarging white patches of irregular shapes to appear on your skin. Exactly why this occurs isn't known.

Vitiligo affects all races, but may be more noticeable and disfiguring in people with darker skin. Vitiligo usually starts as small areas of pigment loss that spread with time. These changes in your skin can result in stress and worries about your appearance. Like Scleroderma, there is no cure for vitiligo.

The goal of treatment is to stop or slow the progression of pigment loss and, if you desire, attempt to return some color to your skin.

Although any part of your body may be affected by Vitiligo, depigmentation usually develops first on sun-exposed areas of your skin, such as your hands, feet, arms, face and lips. Although it can start at any age, Vitiligo often first appears between the ages of 10 and 30.

The natural course of Vitiligo is difficult to predict. Sometimes the patches stop forming without treatment. But, in most cases, pigment loss spreads and can eventually involve most of the surface of your skin.

taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/40097140@N02/3798426328/ via creative commonsDoctors and scientists have theories as to what causes Vitiligo. It may be due to an immune system disorder. Heredity may be a factor because there's an increased incidence of Vitiligo in some families. Some people have reported a single event, such as sunburn or emotional distress, that triggered the condition. However, none of these theories has been proven as a definite cause of Vitiligo.

Vitiligo is the most likely diagnosis in cases in which there is a progressive depigmentation leading to symmetrically distributed, chalk-white macules on the face, neck, scalp, mucous membranes, or periorificial areas, and not accompanied by any other symptom. This is essentially what differentiates Vitiligo from Scleroderma.

Diffuse scleroderma may result in areas of skin hypopigmentation. However, systemic signs of Scleroderma include essential vasomotor disturbances, such as Raynaud's phenomenon, fibrosis, and abnormalities of the lungs, kidneys, digestive system, and heart.

For more information on Vitiligo, you're welcome to view the MayoClinic's full article here, or visit the Vitiligo Foundation here. The International Scleroderma Network has some excellent links to additional resources on Vitiligo, such as diagnoses, personal stories and more. Similarly, there are many research papers on Vitiligo, one of which you can read here.
 
More articles :

» Chinese Medicine Used In The Treatment Of Scleroderma

According to many proponents of eastern medicine, Chinese medicine is a whole holistic system that can lead to a healthier, happier and more stress free way of living. It is a system that people have benefited from for over twenty-three centuries...

» Vitamin D Deficiency May Hasten Autoimmune Lung Disease

Patients with autoimmune interstitial lung disease (ILD) — a frequently fatal chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that causes scarring of the lungs — often have deficiencies, and researchers from the University of Cincinnati believe this...

» Scleroderma May Be Initated By Cancer

has reported that researchers at have discovered that some cases of are likely to have been initiated by Cancer.  In a landmark paper published in Science, researchers focusing on a select group of patients with both Scleroderma and Cancer,...

» Dermatomyositis

Dermatomyositis is one of a group of muscle diseases known as the inflammatory myopathies, which are characterized by chronic muscle inflammation accompanied by muscle weakness. Dermatomyositis’ cardinal symptom is a skin rash that precedes or...

» What Is Autoimmune Hepatitis?

Autoimmune hepatitis is an of the caused by an autoimmune disorder. An autoimmune disorder is one in which a person's immune system attacks his or her own body for unknown reasons. The degree of liver inflammation can range from mild to deadly.The...

» Targeted Therapy for Systemic Sclerosis: How Close are We?

Manuel Ramos-Casals; Vicent Fonollosa-Pla; Pilar Brito-Zerón; Antoni Sisó-AlmirallPosted: 09/14/2010; Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2010;6(5):269-278. © 2010 Nature Publishing GroupDespite recent etiopathogenetic advances, systemic sclerosis continues to be...