What is vitiligo?
Vitiligo is an acquired autoimmune disorder in which there is a focal loss of melanocytes which are pigment-producing cells in the skin and give tone to our skin. In case of vitiligo; melanocytes are targeted by the immune system of the body and are destroyed resulting in loss of pigment from the area.
- Family history of vitiligo
- Family history of autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, thyroid, adrenal disorders etc.
- Associated autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, thyroid, adrenal disorders etc.
- Trauma and sunburn
Types of vitiligo
Vitiligo may be classified into localized vitiligo and generalized vitiligo.
- Localized vitiligo may be further classified into:
- Focal: in this type hypo-pigmented spots are confined to one or more area.
- Segmental: in this type of vitiligo one or more areas of hypo-pigmentation is seen but spots are confined to one side of the body only. This type is usually seen in children.
- Mucosal: in this type of vitiligo only mucous membrane is affected.
- Generalized vitiligo can be classified further into:
- Acrofacial: hypopigmentation seen on parts which are away from the centre of the body i. E. Face, head, extremities etc.
- Universal: hypopigmentation covering almost whole body.
Mixed type of vitiligo may also be seen in which various patterns can be seen together.
Symptoms & causes
- Hypopigmented spots on the skin usually starting from the sun-exposed areas. Sometimes graying of hair on the affected parts is seen along with graying of eyelashes.
- Mucosal linings are also affected in few, causing depigmentation of the mucous membranes.
- Itching may also be seen in few cases especially in active stage along with sensitivity on exposure to sun.
Exact cause of vitiligo is not known but a few possibilities are:
- Autoimmune cause: pigment producing cells (melanocytes) are attacked by the immune cells of the body and are destroyed.
- Stress: stress may also trigger vitiligo
- Sunburn: excessive and prolonged exposure to sun can also trigger vitiligo.
- Chemical exposure may also cause vitiligo
- Family history of vitiligo increases the chances of inheritance of vitiligo.
- Injury: at the place of injury depigmentation may start with the healing process.
A hypothesis also states that depigmentation is seen along the pressure areas of the body i. E along the waist line.
Diagnosis & treatment
- Presence of depigmented spots
- Antinuclear antibody helps in determination of autoimmune disorder.
- Thyroid profile for presence of thyroid disorder, thyroid peroxidase antibody for presence of autoimmune thyroid disease.
Phototherapy: exposure to uva or uvb light can help some individuals with the condition.
- Educate the patient and family members about the disease.
- Clarify the facts about vitiligo that:
- It is a non-contagious disorder and can't spread by contact.
- It has no age, sex or ethnic discrimination.
- Vitiligo is photosensitive and patients should avoid exposure of skin to direct sunlight for prolonged period.
- Dietary advices should also be given like:
- Cashew nuts aggravates vitiligo
- Food with vitamin c aggravates vitiligo
Homeopathy has great scope in treatment of vitiligo as after through case taking and evaluation of the case constitutional best suited medicine is given to the patient which can promptly help in re-pigmentation and can cause complete cure also.
There are various medicines like sulphur, arsenic album, tuberculinum, phosphorus, calcarea carb, psorinum etc which can cure vitiligo depending on the case and personality of the patient.
Do’s and don’ts
- Take healthy nutritious diet.
- Cover the body while going out in sun.
- Avoid exposure to sun.
- Avoid sour food items.
- Avoid cashew nuts.
- Avoid scratching as it may help in spread of spots.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist
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