A vitiligo is the chronic skin disease, in modern system of dermatologic diseases it relates to the group of cutaneous dyschromias (Greek ‘dyschromia cutis’ – pigmentation disorder). The vitiligo causes the discoloration of particular areas of derma, which lose their natural color as the result of loss of functions of melanocytes – destruction of melanin pigment.
The vitiligo is visually manifested in the form of white spots and ‘variegation’ on the skin, and though this disease by itself does not cause serious threat to human health, it cause a severe psychological discomfort both for the patient and surrounding people. Currently, the causes for development of vitiligo have not been fully studied yet, though there is an official statistics on this type of dermatosis:
- the vitiligo can manifest itself in any age, but first of all, the risk group includes the people, aged 10-30 (up to 50% of all cases of the onset of disease);
- the vitiligo does not have a racial gradation, affecting people with any skin color;
- a total of 3% of population of the planet suffer from vitiligo;
- women are more susceptible to this disease than men;
- besides the cutaneous integument, the vitiligo can also affect the eye retina, hair and even the meninx, though such cases are observed very rarely.
As for the cause for appearance of vitiligo, there exist several theories:
- autoimmune theory: destruction of melanocytes (skin cells, containing melanin) as the result of wrong interaction with incorrectly functioning cells of the immune system.
- neurogenic theory: damaging melanocytes through the nervous system.
- genetic theory: the vitiligo is caused by the genetic predisposition.
The modern medicine also distinguishes with high probability several triggering factors (‘launching mechanisms’) of appearance and development of the vitiligo:
- hereditary abnormalities in metabolism;
- insufficient nutrition during the intrauterine development, foetal damage;
- the disorders of thyroid gland, adrenal glands and other glands and systems of internal secretion;
- insufficient nutrition of tissues against the background of chronic diseases of digestive organs;
- stresses, resulting in vascular disorders and disturbance in metabolism of cells.
In addition, the possible causes of disease include the impact of different chemical substances on the skin and intake of some medications. The combination of several above-listed factors increases the risk of vitiligo development.
SYMPTOMS OF VITILIGO – MAIN AND CONCOMITANT
The appearance of characteristic white spots on the skin is the main symptom of vitiligo (their tinge can vary from milky-white to blueish or ivory-white) with sharply defined borders. These spots are most often localized on the face, hands and legs as well as in the inguinal and perianal areas. In some cases, the spots may appear on the mucous membranes, hairy parts of the head as well as in the area of moustaches and beard of the man. The soles and palms are the only skin areas, on which the vitiligo will never appear.
The depigmentation due to the vitiligo is divided into several types:
- Spots of three different shades of white color with pigmented contour.
- Spots of four shades, limited by “border” of the darker color.
- Spots, representing the inflamed skin areas, limited by slightly elevated contour.
- Spots with blueish color.
Except for the main symptom (skin spots), the vitiligo may be accompanied by other diseases and conditions of the organism:
- alopecia areata;
- hair greying and lightening on affected areas;
- choreoretinitis – eye disease, characterized by the inflammation of posterior chamber of eyeball and retina;
- lichen planus;
- abnormal sweating, disappearance of skin reactions to the cold and other stimuluses;
- disappearance of some pilomotor and vasomotor reflexes;
- different types of dermatitis;
- diminished capacity of the liver to resist toxic substances.
The disease itself is not infectious and virtually does not cause physical discomfort – pain or other subjective feelings. Only in 10% of cases, the patient complains of the itchiness of affected skin areas, but most probably this itching is the result of skin spots exposure to sun rays.
TREATMENT OF VITILIGO IN OXFORD MEDICAL CLINIC
As the vitiligo is often a skin marker of different internal diseases, the highly qualified doctors of the Dermatology Department of Oxford Medical clinic use a comprehensive approach to its treatment.
It has been established that the vitiligo can fully disappear after treatment of lambliosis in the liver and other diseases of the liver, gallbladder, gastrointestinal tract, thyroid gland, cardiovascular system – that is why the complex therapy includes the medications, improving the functioning of these organs and treating their concomitant diseases.
It is clear that this therapy is not the only for solving the problem of vitiligo – the world leading medical institutions, including Oxford Medical clinic, also use a narrowband phototherapy (“light therapy”), photo-protectors, calcineurin inhibitors etc.
During the treatment of vitiligo in Oxford Medical clinic, each patient receives individual doctor’s recommendations not only regarding taken medications and procedures, but also regarding the diet, lifestyle, skin protection from the sun etc. Thanks to the highest professionalism, in each case the doctors of the clinic manage to achieve a long-lasting remission or fully get rid of this skin disease.