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What is vitiligo

Source: Beijing Zhongke Vitiligo Hospital

  • Vitiligo is a pigmentary disorder resulting in typically asymptomatic white macules that can appear at any time during human life and can be psychologically devastating.
  • It occurs in all skin types and at all ages, with equal frequencies between men and women.
  • Vitiligo is considered to be an autoimmune disease with an underlying genetic predisposition in the majority of cases.
  • Vitiligo is not caused by poor medical care.
  • Personal behavior or state of mind may play an important role in the disease management.
  • Vitiligo is never a contagious disease, but infective agents may apparently play an indirect role in some cases.
  • Vitiligo is not related to bad diet, but correct diet may help.
  • Vitiligo seems not to be directly related to pollution, but the environment plays a major role in vitiligo development.
  • Vitiligo is not clearly genetically transmitted.
  • Progression of the disease can be halted in about 90% of cases, if treatment is sought.
  • A cure is not yet known for each and every case, but adequate medical and /or surgical therapies may treat satisfactorily over 75% of the affected subjects.
  • Be optimistic! It is not true that there is nothing that can be done for vitiligo. In fact, just the opposite is true and research is happening all over the world to find the cure for vitiligo.

Vitiligo is an acquired sudden loss of the inherited skin color. Despite its long recognition, the cause of this disorder is still unknown. The loss of skin color yields white patches of various sizes, which can be localized anywhere on the body. The disease affects people of all races, men and women, and all age groups. It may appear at any age; cases have been reported as early as 6 weeks after birth and after 80 years of age.

Vitiligo is not a contagious disease, however is is a difficult condition to tolerate, being more often a psychologically devastating disease, especially in darker skinned individuals, in whom it is more easily noticeable. The actual cause of vitiligo is under debate and has been attributed to autoimmune causes, oxidative stress, and/or a neurogenic disturbance. These terms will be explained later on.

In other terms, vitiligo is a skin and/or mucosal disorder characterized by white patches, often, but not always, symmetrical, which usually increase in size with time, corresponding to a substantial loss of functioning epidermal and sometimes hair follicle melanocytes. It may occur in a unilateral distribution or may be generalized.

Vitiligo lesions may rarely itch and have a high propensity to sunburn. Vitiligo is a chronic persistent and often progressive disorder; spontaneous repigmentation is uncommon and usually occurs around the hairs in a perifollicular pattern. Many patients are poorly educated about their illness. In one study, 51.3% of patients believed that their vitiligo was caused by poor medical care, 30% thought personal behavior played a major role, 25% - wrong diet, 21.3% - altered state of mind, and 20% blamed only pollution or environmental alterations. All the beliefs mentioned above are considered by the scientific community to be “per se” unfounded and misleading, even if all of them may offer some true indications for understanding the disease and for finding the cure.

Vitiligo is a disease that presently cannot be cured, but still can be treated successfully with many different approaches. Its progression can be halted in almost 90% of cases with appropriate therapy, most frequently by combining different treatments. More than 75% of subjects affected by vitiligo respond satisfactorily to active treatments (medical or surgical).

    Others Questions

    Q :Why The Recovery Speed Is Various For Vitiligo Patients

    A:In the vitiligo clinic, the recovery speed of patients are various. Through the aspect of patients, the therapy is more effective if the vitiligo is recovered faster. However, it is hard to be controlled. In fact, it is usually seem on any....

    Q :If The Vitiligo Patients Should Take Long-Term Medicines?

    A:The vitiligo is a chronic disease and vitiligo patients should take the medicines consistently in a long term to treat the vitiligo. However, lots of patients have this feeling that the effect of the medicine is obviously at first time, aft....

    Q :Will The Overexposure To The Sunshine Lead The Vitiligo?

    A:Lots of clinical researches present, the incipient vitiligo usually happens on exposed areas. The happens of vitiligo is roughly 95% relative to seasons, especially during the end of spring and start of summer, the vitiligo is easier spread....

    Q :What Are The Early Symptoms of Vitiligo

    A:The public usually believe the vitiligo is a skin disease that easy to be discovered but hard to be cured. However, it is not totally true.For some early or atypical cases, lots of dermatologists with abundant experience also feel difficult....

    Q :The Secret of Vitiligo and Overexposure to the Sun.

    A:According the a lot of clinic researches, the whites patches usually start from the skin area which overexposed to the sun. The main causes of vitiligo are the significant lack of melanin and melanin particles, or the entirely absent of mel....

    Q :Why the Vitiligo Found You? -- Part I

    A:1. The mysterious causes of vitiligo. 1) . The causes of vitiligo closely relate to the mental state: The formation of melanin (the black pigment) is promoted by the regulation of neurohumor, thus, the causes of vitiligo is closely relate t....

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