4 Facts You must Know about Vitiligo
Those white patches that appear on the skin and never really go away? It is a skin disorder and is called vitiligo. It is not very clear as to what causes vitiligo but it is more like an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the skin cells, in this case the cells that give the skin its color-melanocytes. When the melanocytes are no longer able to do their job, the skin loses its color in patches and you get vitiligo. It is not only the skin, but vitiligo also affects the mucous membranes – the tissue inside the mouth, nose and the eye. Here are some facts you must know about vitiligo.
1. It is not yet known what causes vitiligo but theories abound
Some think it is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system destroys the pigment producing melanocytes. Others believe that it is caused by extreme distress-physical and emotional or exposure to sun. This has never been known to occur. Some also opine that the melanocytes kill themselves causing the colorless appearance of the skin. There is however another opinion that some defective genes in the human body causes vitiligo. However research still goes on to find the exact cause of the disease.
2. Vitiligo spares no one
Although darker skinned people are more prone to the disease, vitiligo can affect anyone regardless of their race, age and gender. Most people get affected before they turn 40. Although people with autoimmune diseases are more likely to get vitiligo, it is not always the case as a lot of people with vitiligo do not have any other autoimmune disease. It is also not genetic as children whose parents have the disease are not affected by it.