Vitiligo linked to simultaneously existing autoimmune diseases

By: Mohan Garikiparithi | General Health | Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 02:00 PM

Vitiligo linked to simultaneously existing autoimmune diseases

Vitiligo, an autoimmune skin condition, is linked to simultaneously existing autoimmune diseases. Researchers from St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center created a questionnaire to be answered by children and adults who had vitiligo to determine other coexisting autoimmune diseases, which may appear along vitiligo.

Based on the survey results, the most common vitiligo-associated autoimmune diseases (VAAD) were hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia, type 2 diabetes, alopecia areata, psoriasis, chronic urticaria, type 1 diabetes, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, Sjögren’s syndrome, Raynaud’s disease, lupus, sarcoid, Crohn’s disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, Addison’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

In an alternative study conducted by researcher Iltefat Hamzavi, other VAAD found in the participants of his study also included linear morphea, Guilllain-Barré syndrome, and myasthenia gravis, along with the conditions listed in the previous study. Dr. Hamzavi noted, “Vitiligo is often perceived to be ‘only a cosmetic condition,’ but it’s not just a disease of the skin. While the skin is a primary target, other organs are also at risk, and the emotional effects on patients can be devastating.”

Dr. Hamzavi suggests that being aware of comorbid conditions that occur in vitiligo is important for patients, as it can start them on early intervention treatment methods. Doctors should also keep an eye out for early symptoms, along with continuously monitoring their vitiligo patients.

Future research should explore which molecules are responsible for causing certain comorbid diseases in order to prevent them through targeted therapies.

Vitiligo prevention and coping tips

Vitiligo is a disease that affects the pigmentation of the skin, causing it to appear spotty, blotchy, and discolored. Vitiligo can affect any part of the skin all over the body and can even go as far as inside of the mouth or eyes.

Skin discoloration occurs because the cells that are normally responsible for producing pigment melanin die or stop functioning, resulting in the loss of pigment. Vitiligo is not a contagious disease, nor is it life-threatening, but it can lead to anxiety, depression, and stress for the patients, as they become embarrassed by their appearance.

Because vitiligo is causing stress, it is important to find useful coping mechanisms to deal with the condition, so it doesn’t progress into depression. Here are some tips that can better help you to cope with vitiligo.

  • Find a doctor your trust who specializes in vitiligo.
  • Learn all you can about the disease in order to make informed decisions.
  • Communicate your feelings either with your doctor, a therapist, or even friends and family.
  • Join a support group with others who have vitiligo.

Although vitiligo is not a life-threatening disease, you still have to protect your skin, as it can become easily damaged. For example, always use a high SPF sunscreen and apply it generously and often. You can also use concealing products as a means of boosting your confidence and making you feel more comfortable in public. Lastly, do not get a tattoo – not only does it damage your skin, but it can cause further vitiligo spots to appear.

Related Reading:

Vitiligo skin condition causes, symptoms, and unique causes

Vitiligo is a skin condition that leads to light and dark patches of skin discoloration. Although vitiligo commonly affects the skin, it can affect any area that has pigment. For example, a person can develop patches of white hair. Vitiligo is not a contagious condition, nor is it life-threatening, but it can definitely alter a person’s life. Continue reading…

How an arthritis drug can benefit vitiligo

There are many autoimmune diseases out there. Some affect nerves and others affect our stomachs. Generally, many of these autoimmune diseases can go unnoticed, as they don’t leave visible marks. But one in particular is hard to miss. The condition is called vitiligo. and it is the discoloration of pigments on the skin. It can present as small spots or large discolored areas all over a person’s body. Continue reading…


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