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Vitiligo Diet And Treatment

Do let me know the causes and treatment for vitiligo?
(March 15, 2009)

Vitiligo is a disorder associated with pigmentation of the skin. Melanocytes or the pigment-making cells are destroyed in this disorder. Hair growth in the affected area is white in color. Patches in the retina and mucous membrane is common. Inheritance is sited to be one of the common causes of vitiligo.

Vitiligo is an auto immune disorder. It decreases the immune levels of the individual, as it affects the body's own cells or organs. Cytokines are proteins that are synthesized by the body, which affects the melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells. It is a kind of leucoderma, which is especially noticeable in light colored skin. Mild bruise or injury to a particular area triggers new patches. The patches might progress to various areas of the body.

Emotional problems and sunburns are also causative factors for vitiligo. In other words, the various causes are termed fewer than four categories, namely, genetic hypothesis, immune hypothesis, self destruction hypothesis and neural hypothesis. Research reveals the greater incidence of this disorder, in individuals suffering from autoimmune diseases, such as pernicious anemia, hyperthyroidism and alopecia areata (patches of baldness). Individuals with vitiligo-suffering parents are more prone to the disorder.

Symptoms of vitiligo include loss of color in the mucous membrane, white patches, change in the inner eye color and graying of the eyebrows, eye lashes and scalp. Treatment procedures involve medications, topical ointments and ultraviolet therapy. Skin grafting is a surgical procedure, which involves the removal of skin from unaffected areas, which are in turn placed in the affected area. Cosmetic products are available in the market, which help to conceal the pigmentation. Depigmentation of the unaffected area is yet another technique. Depigmented skin is highly vulnerable to sun burns and other harmful effects of the sun. Use of high-SPF (Sun Protection Factor) sun blocks proves beneficial.

Oral psoralen photo chemotherapy involves the administration of oral doses of psoralen. This technique of treatment is not recommended for children, under ten years of age, due to the associated damage of the eyes. Melanocytes transplants are an in vitro procedure, which is quite expensive. Topical application of creams, such as corticosteroid creams, repigmenting agents and immunosuppressants are effective. Topical steroid therapy aids in the repigmentation process, especially, when applied in the initial stages of the disorder. PUVA treatment (8-methoxypsoralen, 5-methoxypsoralen, trimethylpsoralen plus UVA) is yet another technique, which is useful. Psoralen photo chemotherapy is a potent procedure, which is effective.

Submitted by R B on March 15, 2009 at 11:57


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