Vitiligo causes, risk factors and treatment

Vitiligo is a condition where white patches of skin appear on different parts of the body, including the hands, arms, feet, face and lips. The condition can also affect the eye and mucous membranes, such as inside the nose and mouth. Here’s what you should know about Vitiligo causes, risk factors and treatment.

Vitiligo causes

The exact vitiligo causes and treatment is not yet known, but some experts think the disorder may be an autoimmune disease. They think vitiligo occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks some part of your own body. In the attack, the immune system destroys the melanocytes in the skin causing white patches of skin to appear on the affected parts of the body.

Another group of researchers think one of more genes make a person more likely to get the disorder. Still other researchers think the melanocytes in the skin destroy themselves, leading to vitiligo. Yet other researchers think a single event like emotional distress or sunburn can trigger the disorder to occur. All these schools of thought about the cause of vitiligo are yet to be proven.

Risk factors of vitiligo

While researchers are yet to agree on the exact cause of vitiligo, the disorder affects up to 2% of the population. In most cases, vitiligo develops early in life between ages 10 and 30, affecting both men and women equally. 95% of those affected by vitiligo develop it before age 40.

If you are from a family with a history of vitiligo or premature graying of the hair, you are more likely to develop the disorder than someone who is not from a family with a history of the disorder. This is the case because vitiligo is thought to run in the family. You are also at risk of developing vitiligo if you have autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis (autoimmune thyroid disease).

Diagnosis and treatment of vitiligo

There is no known way to prevent or cure vitiligo. However, several vitiligo causes and treatment methods are used to manage the disorder, including cosmetics, corticosteroid creams, skin grafting, re-pigmentation using ultra violet light therapy and de-pigmentation of unaffected skin areas to improve the appearance of the severely affected skin.

Visit your doctor regularly for a physical exam. Your doctor will be able to diagnosis vitiligo during the physical checkups and recommend the best treatment option for you.

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