Do you know about the pigmentation disorder in the human skin? Your skin contains special skin cells melanocytes, which are said to produce the pigment melanin which colors the skin. Vitiligo occurs when these cells are destroyed. Let’s find out little more about this skin condition.
You might have come across people have their body affected by appearance of white patches. What’s that, you often think isn’t it? Well, it is a pigmentation disorder, vitiligo which can either affect your whole skin or a particular part of your body. It is identified by the appearance of white patches.
This pigmentation disorder can affect your hair too, turning them into white. Thanks to the advanced medical science. Through the advancement of technology, you can now find a number of treatments. But before that you need to learn about this skin disease in detail. So, let’s start answering some common questions about vitiligo.
What causes vitiligo?
You skin carries some special cells and the tissues which are found inside of the genital, mouth, nose, and rectal areas. Vitiligo occurs when any of these are destroyed and then appears those white patches on skin. Now these can appear anywhere across the different parts of the body.
There are different theories regarding the causes, but the actual cause is still a mystery. One theory states that people with vitiligo develop antibodies which destroy their own melanocytes. On the other hand, there is a theory that states that the melanocytes attack and somehow destroy themselves.
Who gets affected by vitiligo?
You will be surprised to know that the number of people affected by vitiligo ranges from 40-50 million. Yes, this means around 1 to 2% of people all over the world are suffering from this skin condition. And this number constitutes to around 2 to 5 million in the United States alone.
As far as the races and genders are considered, it equally affects people around the globe. Both, men and women are affected, generally below the age of 40.
Is vitiligo an autoimmune disease?
When a person's immune system start reacting against the body's own organs or tissues such a disease is termed to be an autoimmune disease. And if it is about vitiligo, it is found to be more common in people with certain autoimmune diseases.
The one associated with vitiligo are:
• Alopecia areata (patches of baldness)
• Pernicious anemia (a low level of red blood cells caused by the failure of the body to absorb vitamin B12)
• Hyperthyroidism (over activity of the thyroid gland)
• Adrenocortical insufficiency (the adrenal gland does not produce enough of the hormone corticosteroid)
Is vitiligo Inherited?
Not always, but yes, it can be hereditary in some cases. The children of vitiligo affected parents are more prone to develop this skin disorder. But that doesn’t make all children get vitiligo if a parent has it. In fact, most of the people with vitiligo do not have a family history of the disorder.
There is a long list of inherited disorders; have a look:
• Ongenital deafness with vitiligo and achalasia,
• Albinism of the ocular type
• Kabuki syndrome
• Dyschromatosis symmetrica hereditaria
• Familial histiocyctic reticulosis
• Autoimmune polyendocrinopathy syndrome
• Ermine phenotype and the syndrome of Spastic paraparesis,
Here it is important to know that the abundance of genetic diseases show that there are a number of genes which will affect the development and also the wellbeing of melanocytes.
So, this was a little to add to your knowledge about vitiligo. To learn about the symptoms, causes and treatment in details, stay tuned for the next post.