What is Vitiligo? Understanding what you have

Author: Gary Giovanni
What Is Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a skin disorder with symptoms of white patches on your skin. These white patches are caused by the loss of melanin the substance responsible for the color of your skin. The loss of melanin is triggered by damage caused to your melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin. Although the process in which Vitiligo causes de-pigmentation is understood doctors don\'t know the exact source of the disease. Even with all the mystery surrounding this condition it is possible to get treatment and begin the process of re-pigmenting the areas affected with Vitiligo.

Vitiligo Fact
Vitiligo affects all races and genders at a rate of about one to two percent of the population. It can develop at any age but generally it takes place before the age of 30. Vitiligo patches don\'t have any symptoms meaning there is no pain associated with the areas that don\'t have pigment. The rate in which it spreads through out the body is based on different factors and getting the right diagnosis and categorizing it will help in determining how it will progress.

If you are diagnosed with vitiligo your doctor will try to categorize your type of vitiligo in order to assess the extent of the discoloration and pattern distribution. The categorization is useful to determine the best therapeutic approach in treating that particular case of vitiligo. They are clinically categorized into:
  • Universal Vitiligo – is a loss of pigment on the majority of the body
  • Generalized Vitiligo – is the most common type of vitiligo with patches affecting the entire body
  • Segmental Vitiligo – appears on one side of the body and nowhere else
  • Focal Vitiligo – spots only appear in one area
  • Acrofacial Vitiligo – affects the ends of your fingers and  face, generally around the mouth
The key to treating vitiligo is getting it diagnosed as soon as possible. Early diagnosis can make it possible to stop the spread of the disease through out your body.

How Do You Get Vitiligo?
Since doctors don\'t know what causes it they can\'t really tell you how you get vitiligo. If you have any white patches on your skin make sure you get diagnosed before you start seeking out treatment. Other conditions can cause skin discoloration so it is critical you get the right diagnosis. Studies of epidemiology suggest Vitiligo maybe inherited in about one fourth of the patients because they have a family member with the condition. Three prevalent hypothesis are used as to why the melanocytes in vitiligo patients are destroyed or stop functioning properly.
  • Autoimmune – in this scenario your immune system starts attacking your own melanocytes
  • Autocytotoxic – is a process in which toxic materials are produced in the biosynthesis of melanin resulting in the damage of melanocytes.
  • Neural – in the neural hypothesis it is believed chemicals released from nerve endings are toxic to melanocytes
This is only some of the possible causes of vitiligo but it is believed many other mechanisms can be responsible for this condition.

The treatment of vitiligo is a broad based approach that encompasses many different therapies. Every therapy tries to either stop the progression of the disease or introduce pigment to the affected areas.
  • Topical Drugs – corticosteroids and immunomodulators can be applied on the skin to try and introduce pigment to the affected area. It is important to not these medications were not designed for vitiligo and there could be some serious side effects.
  • Systemic Drugs – taking a drug orally or intravenously affects your entire system. Before you try these types of medications make sure you are well informed about the total effect of the drug overall. The wrong reaction can make your vitiligo worse
  • Phototherapy – using the sun or artificial light in combination with psoralen has been effective for many patients. The drug is taken orally or applied topically before the light therapy begins. Side effects include sunburn and blisters.
  • Surgery – several surgical techniques are used to start re-pigmenting the affected areas. The procedures can leave scarring and the pigmentation may not work.
    • Skin Grafts – grafts are taken from the patient using  blisters or another donor area and placing them on the patches affected with vitiligo
    • Cellular Graft – this process involves using cultured and non-cultured melanocytes and keratinocytes and transplanting them to the donor area. This procedure is expensive and it is not widely available
    • Micropigmentation – this is basically a medical grade tattoo which is applied to the de-pigmented area
    • De- pigmentation – this procedure is reserved only for patients who have vitiligo on most of their body. De-pigmentation is used to remove the few areas of the body with pigment.
    • Cosmetics – if you have vitiligo on your face or hands it is possible to use cosmetics to hide the affected areas. You can find cosmetics especially designed for vitiligo patients
Another important component in the treatment of vitiligo is counseling or psychotherapy because of the psychological effect vitiligo has on many of the patients diagnosed with this condition. Receiving this type of treatment will help you cope with the psychosocial impact of vitiligo.

If you have been diagnosed with vitiligo you must never give up hope because many people have recovered fully from this condition. With the right attitude, a supportive family and friends and a doctor who is open to new ideas can go a long way in stopping and pigmenting the areas of your body affected by vitiligo.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com

About the Author
I have had vitiligo for over ten years and after an exhaustive search for a cure for my condition I was able to heal myself. The process involved a lot of hard work. It is not a magic pill, a heal quick program or a secret potion. It is achieved by completely evaluating everything about your diet, your lifestyle and your mental approach to life.

Once I used these principles I was able to heal myself and people around me who had vitiligo.
This encouraged me to write my e-book How I Healed Myself From Vitiligo and create the supporting website with the same title and pass on the information to anyone with vitiligo.
The reason I created the website and wrote the book was to lay out in detail accurate information about viitiligo and the process I used to heal myself. I was extremely frustrated searching the internet for information about vitiligo only to be directed to potions, heal quick scams and inaccurate information about vitiligo.
My hope is for everyone to read my book so they can start healing themselves naturally by eliminating toxic foods and products from their diet, exercising, meditating and having a positive outlook towards life. I am proof that doing all these things will help your body overcome this condition.

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