Vitiligo is a skin disease which results in the depigmentation of the skin. The cells of melanocytes are responsible for the skin pigmentation and they are derived from neural crest. When they die or an error occurs in their function then the disease of Vitiligo occurs. This disease destroys the cells of skin pigmentation and spreads on the skin, eyes, ears and mucous membrane. As a result of destruction of skin pigmentation cells, white patches start producing on different parts of the body. Though the disease does not result in the serious conditions like pain but still scientists are investigating to stop spreading of white patches on the skin.
Melanin is a pigment in our body which gives color to the skin, hair and eyes. Through a particular process this pigment is broken down and replaced with new pigments by the cells melanocytes. Melanocyte is responsible for the distribution of melanin in he body but if a person is suffering from a disease of Vitiligo then melanocytes will not be able to distribute the pigment properly.
A person having healthy skin contains a brown pigment called as melanin which is produced from the cells melanocytes. It gives color to the kin, hair and eyes. When the melanocytes do not function properly or die because of some factors then this pigment does not produce in some parts of the body and skin becomes lighter in color. The microscopic observation of diseased skin shows that melanocytes are absent from that area and signs of inflammation are present in the deeper layers of the skin.
It is still a mystery that why Vitiligo occurs in the body. Some experts believe that it is caused by the autoimmune disorder. It is a disorder in which the immune system of the body reacts against its own body part. In Vitiligo, particular types of autoantibodies are present in the blood of the patient which may be the cause of disease. There are other theories also that this disease spreads because of the damage in the nerves which results in the loss of pigment from the skin.
Most prominent symptoms of Vitiligo are the appearance of white patches on the skin. People with the lighter skin shade do not notice the patches until summers when their skin color becomes dark but the people with the dark skin observe the patches at once. This disease occurs in three forms; in one form, white patches appear on some parts of the body. In the other form, white patches appear on half side of the body but in most of the cases patches appear on the whole body and result in the skin whitening.
Once Vitiligo appears in a person, it cannot be eradicated completely from the body. But still there are various treatment options which can be used to treat the disease of Vitiligo. The therapy depends on the location and size of patches. The person affected with this disease suffers from emotional and psychological ups and downs. Current treatments are medical, surgical and adjunctive therapies.
1) Medical Therapies:-
Most of the medical therapies are helpful in reducing the patches from the skin. For example;
-Topical Steroid therapy:-
In this treatment, steroid creams are used which help in regimenting the white patches. These creams help efficiently if they are used at the early stages of the disease. The drugs corticosteroids are prescribed by the doctors. They are very much similar to the cortisone steroids. These hormones are produced by the adrenal glands. Stronger dose id recommended for the adults and mild dose for the children.
2) Psoralen photochemotherapy:-
This therapy is also called as psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy. It is the most effective therapy used for Vitiligo. Main purpose of this therapy is to repayment the areas of the skin which are white. This therapy takes a lot of time and when it is being applied on a person. Great precautionary measures should be taken to avoid side effects. Psoralen is a drug made for Vitiligo patients which contain chemicals and is used along with the ultraviolet light to darken the skin.
This type of treatment is given to the patients who have Vitiligo on more than 50% area of the skin. In this treatment, the sin which is normal that also is made faded to match the depigmented parts of the body. It is the best treatment for the patients with severe disease. The drug monobenzyl is used on the darker areas which also become light and match with already white patches. During the treatment, the patient may experience dryness and itching of the skin. Inflammation is the most prominent side effect of this treatment.
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