Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Will my skin disease, vitiligo affect me physically?"
I'm 18 years old female and have vitiligo for as long as I could remeber. All the while, I was wondering would thiss affect me physically and was there anything that I would do to slow it down or get rid of it. I would like to be as healthy as I could be and wanted to know if this could lead to anything else.Thanks
As you know, vitiligo is a skin condition where the skin loses its pigmentation in patches in different areas of the body. While the exact reason why some people develop vitiligo is unknown, there are some good theories. The thinking is that vitiligo respresents an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the pigmented cells called melanocytes. The treatments for vitiligo are mostly geared to reduced the risk for skin cancer by using sunscreen. Occasionally immunosuppressants can be used to help reduce the loss of pigmentation. In some cases, vitiligo is associated with other autoimmune disease such as Grave's disease and Addison's disease. Grave's disease is an autoimmune disease where the immune system activates the thyroid gland. Addison's disease is a disease of the adrenal glands where the immune system attacks the gland itself. Keep in mind that most people that have vitiligo do not develop these other syndromes, but their risk at developing them is greater. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. He or she will be able to review with you any treatments that may be effective for vitiligo and discuss your personal risk of any other diseases such as Addison's disease and Grave's disease. Good luck.
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