Vitiligo: what it is, how to recognize it and related pathologies

One hundred million people in the world suffer from vitiligo. Here's what you need to know about this condition

June 25th is World Vitiligo Day, an opportunity to talk and explore this skin disease. In the world, it is estimated that around one hundred million people suffer from vitiligo, a number that tends to grow.

Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease that affects skin cells and results in whitish patches where they do not produce melanin. The spots can be of different extension and can appear in various parts of the body.

It is a disease of easy identification, the diagnosis is made at the clinical level.

Although for some years we have been talking about it more and there is a more widespread knowledge of the disorder, vitiligo remains, for those who suffer from it, an often conditioning element for social life and everyday life. And if this is always true for those with whitish spots in uncovered spots, such as the face, it is even more true in the summer season, when it is time to discover more about the rest of the body. Not all those affected by vitiligo have the courage, for example, of the top model Winnie Harlow who decided to react to the disease by making the white spots on her face a hallmark of her uniqueness.

For all the others, suffering from vitiligo, a question arises: how to live peacefully with the disease?

Being an autoimmune disease, vitiligo is often related to other disorders. For those affected, it is therefore advisable to check that there are no other autoimmune diseases in addition, such as autoimmune thyroiditis or gastric and digestive disorders. Furthermore, it is good to follow the evolution of the pathology, periodically doing blood tests.

Among the external factors that affect vitiligo is also the stress that should be kept as much as possible under control. There are several cases of vitiligo arising as a result of tragic and traumatic events.

Moreover, since vitiligo is a type of pathology that often leads to psychologically conditioning those who suffer from it up to affect the normal social life, as emphasized by the Ansv (National Association for the Protection of the Patient of Vitiligo), in certain cases, it can be useful psychotherapeutic support.

As far as research and treatment related to vitiligo are concerned, it must first be said that this is not an immutable condition. Not being a chronic disease, there are therapies that can improve the situation and change the extent of the spots: they range from steroids for the less extensive forms to phototherapy which is carried out several times a week and aims to stimulate the production of melanin and to “ darken "the whitish spots.

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