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Vitiligo – Facts & Treatments you should know! – Part 1

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Vitiligo – Is it spreadable / contagious?

Vitiligo, generally known as Safed Dag, is not at all a disease but a defect caused in the skin. It is due to inability of melanocytes (cells) to build melanin (which imparts color to our skin), and as a result, white patches are formed in those areas where melanocytes are dead. There have been various reasons of vitiligo’s appearance but the main reason stated is the autoimmune disorder wherein our immune system mistakenly attacks the melanocytes and cause cells’ ability to loose providing skin coloration. It can happen as a defect in the gene also.

Some people who have perfect inside out get reacted to a particular medication or allergy and may develop vitiligo. In most cases, vitiligo develops early in life, between the ages of 10 and 30 years. 95% of those affected will develop the disorder before age 40. Both men and women are equally likely to develop vitiligo. This is not life-threatening but it can be life-altering wherein people can develop low-esteem or low-social profile due to odd appearance of white patches over their body.

Symptoms

Any non-skin coloured patch appearing on any part of body can be vitiligo. It can be hands, legs, thigh, waist or face. It can also be seen around eyes, lips or even ears. There is no specificity as to where vitiligo can affect.

Is it spreadable?

There are two facets to it – it is not known whether it spreads across the body parts of a particular affected person, BUT it is NOT contagious – means it can not be spread from one person to another by physical contact. It is not a skin allergy or infection and thus is not communicable.

Causes

There are various causes stated for the appearance of vitiligo, and if you have any doubt about the same, one can approach a good dermatologist who would use a family and medical history, physical exam, and tests to diagnose vitiligo. The doctor may ask questions such as:

•Do you have family members with vitiligo?

•Do you or family members have any autoimmune diseases?

•Did you have a rash, sunburn, or other skin problem before the white patches appeared?

•Did you have some type of stress or physical illness?

•Did your hair turn gray before age 35?

•Are you sensitive to the sun?

The doctor may also recommend to do a physical exam to rule out other medical problems.This might include:

•Taking a small sample (biopsy) of the affected skin to be examined

•Blood tests

•An eye exam

We will be coming up with possible treatments and methods to treat this, to an extent, as it must be known to all that Vitiligo can’t be cured completely but can be taken care of significantly with the help of certain techniques and medical assistance. Check out this page for more!

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