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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Vitiligo Disorder White Patches & Theories

White patches on the skin, premature graying of the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, and beard, and sometimes a loss of color inside the mouth—these are some of the distinct signs of vitiligo. Some people might mistake it as a disease brought about by too much sun exposure. While signs of this disease commonly appear in the sun-exposed areas of the body, the cause of vitiligo is generally unknown. Doctors and researchers have formulated several theories....

One would be that people develop antibodies (produced by the immune system, these are protective proteins which fight infectious agents including bacteria and viruses) which destroy melanocytes (special skin cells that produce melanin) in their own bodies; two, that melanocytes destroy themselves; and three, that a particular event, such as sunburn or emotional distress, triggers these distress—all of which have no scientific backing yet. Another theory says that is hereditary, making children whose parents are affected, prone to the disorder.

This disorder affects 40 to 50 million of the world’s population, excluding no race or sex type. Majority of the people affected by vitiligo usually develop it before turning 40. Given the shady causes of vitiligo, doctors make it a point to find out about important factors in an affected person’s medical history—family history, a rash or a skin trauma two to three months before depigmentation began, stress, physical illness, and / or premature graying of the scalp. While a scientific breakthrough is yet to be done determining the cause of vitiligo, several preventive measures have been developed over the years.

by Jason Herbert - Vitiligo Support


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