O vitiligo Its main characteristic is the spots that spread through the skin due to depigmentation caused by the absence or decrease of melanin.
THE disease has no physical or cognitive limitations and cannot be transmitted from one person to another . However, the impacts on the self-esteem of those with vitiligo can be harmful to mental health.
World Vitiligo Day, June 25, promotes awareness of the topic with the aim of reducing the stigma associated with living with the disease. The misconception that vitiligo is contagious contributes to patient prejudice and discrimination.
what is vitiligo
Vitiligo is a non-contagious, autoimmune manifestation that can be caused by several factors. Although the causes are not fully clarified by the scientific community, the emergence may be related to a genetic predisposition.
According to the Brazilian Society of Dermatology, external factors can contribute to the appearance or worsening of spots that result from the gradual loss of pigmentation due to the formation of T lymphocytes that destroy melanocytes, cells responsible for the production of melanin in the body.
Dermatologist Renata Janones, from Hospital de Clínicas, Federal University of Uberlândia (UFU), says that the development of the disease can also be influenced by genetic factors and emotional impacts.
“There is a genetic predisposition: about 30 to 40% of individuals diagnosed with vitiligo can identify a family history. Like any autoimmune disease, we don’t know exactly what triggers it. It could be an infection or emotional stress, like the loss of a relative or moving to another city,” he explains.
Vitiligo affects men and women of any ethnicity and of all ages.
“The signs usually appear, on average, at the age of 24. Prevalence data may differ from country to country. In Anglo-Saxon countries, on average, 1% develop the disease, while in Brazil, 0.5% of the population manifests the condition, while in China this percentage reaches 0.1% and in India, 5%”, says the statement. dermatologist Caio Castro, specialist at the Brazilian Society of Dermatology.
Vitiligo can present in at least six clinical forms:
- Focal: Small spots on a specific area of the body;
- Mucosal: spots only on the mucous membranes, such as lips and genital region;
- Segmental: patches distributed unilaterally, only in one part of the body;
- Crofacial: spots on fingers and around mouth, eyes, anus and genitals;
- Common: spots on the chest, abdomen, legs, buttocks, arms, neck, armpits and other acrofacial areas;
- Universal: spots spread over almost all regions of the body.
How the diagnosis is made
In general, patients with vitiligo present as symptom only the white spots in the skin. In some cases, there may be tenderness and pain in the area of the injury. The diagnosis should be performed by dermatologists during the clinical consultation.
“O clinical diagnosis it is done, at first, with the naked eye, only with the aid of a special lamp. When in doubt, a biopsy of the lesions is performed, since the spots of vitiligo can be confused with those of other skin diseases, such as hypochromic mycosis fungoides or discoid lupus”, says Castro.
The doctor Renata Janones says that the spots do not show signs such as irritation or itching. In addition, the disease does not cause other symptoms, such as illness or loss of function.
“The most common places are around the eyes, on the eyelids, near the mouth and on the genitals. The spots can also appear on the extremities, hands and feet, although they can happen anywhere”, explains Renata.
Basic care and treatment of vitiligo
O vitiligo has no cure, but it has control . Therapeutic approaches can be used from the evaluation of the patient’s profile by the dermatologist.
Among the therapies available to control the disease are the use of medications that induce repigmentation of the affected skin creams based on corticosteroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs technologies such as laser and phototherapy Besides surgery and transplant of melanocytes.
“With medical help, using scientifically recognized medication and therapies, some patients can repigment the affected areas or even depigment the entire body”, says Castro.
In addition to treatment, patients must follow a care routine which mainly involves the prevention of exposure of affected areas in the sun.
The guidelines include the use of sunscreen (with protection factor above 50), in addition to clothing and accessories such as hats and caps that protect the skin.
“Patients of this condition have a greater tendency to skin aging especially in depigmented areas, in addition to a greater propensity to feel the effects of ‘burns’ in the place due to excessive exposure to the sun”, says Castro.
Source: CNN Brasil