25th June:- World Vitiligo Day
Picture reference:-verywellhealth.com & vecteezy.com
VITILIGO:- A condition in which pigment is lost from the area of the skin, causing whitish patches often with no clear cause.
It is an unpredictable, non-communicable, autoimmune skin disease that affects around 0.5-2% of the world’s population.
World Vitiligo Day, observed on 25th June is celebrated to create global awareness about vitiligo.
SIGNIFICANCE OF JUNE 25th:- The choice of June 25th as World Vitiligo Day is a memorial to musical artist Michael Jackson who suffered from vitiligo from the early 1980s until his death on June 25th, 2009.
EPIDEMIOLOGY:- Individuals of all skin types and ethnic groups can be affected by Vitiligo without predilection. Both men and women are equally affected by it. Females, it has been observed, seeks consultation more frequently, possibly due to the greater negative social impact this has on females when compared to men.
25% percent of vitiligo patients develop the disease before the age of 10 years, almost 50% of patients with vitiligo develop the disease before the age of 20 years, and nearly 70–80% before the age of 30 years.
In the report of Hann and Lee, the mean age of onset was 15.6 years. The earliest reported onset was immediately after birth, whereas the latest was 54 years.
- It is a multifactorial disorder, characterized by the loss of functional melanocytes
- Multiple mechanisms include
- Autoimmune Response
- Oxidative Stress
- Generation of inflammatory mediators
- Melanocyte detachment mechanisms
- The “convergence theory” or “integrated theory” suggests that multiple mechanisms may work jointly in vitiligo to contribute to the destruction of melanocytes, ultimately leading to the same clinical result.
This is of two types:-
More common, patches appear symmetrically on both sides of the body, tends to cover a large area and has rapid loss of pigment.
- Rare variants of vitiligo( leukoderma punctata, hypochromic vitiligo, follicular vitiligo)
2. Segmented (SV)-
Less common, only one side of the body is affected, begins at an early stage (1-2yrs) and then usually stops.
- Bi or multisegmented
3. Mixed (NSV+SV)
- Concomitant occurrence of SV and NSV
- Focal at onset, multifocal asymmetrical, nonsegmental, mucosal(one site)
- The exact cause of vitiligo is unknown but many theories exist, the most widely accepted one is that it is an autoimmune disease (In which a person’s immune system attacks or destroys the body’s own tissues).
- Hereditary can play a significant role. However, only 5 to 7 percent of children will get vitiligo even if a parent has it.
- Sometimes even a single event, such as sunburn or emotional distress, can trigger the condition.
- Vitiligo seems to be more common in people who have a family history of the disorder or who have certain autoimmune diseases, including:
-Systemic lupus erythematosus
-Type 1 diabetes.
- Skin:- Develops milky-white patches, usually on the hands, feet, arms, and face. However, the patches can appear anywhere.
- Hair:- Turn white in areas where the skin is losing pigment. This can happen on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard.
- Mucous membranes:- Inside the mouth or nose.
- Low self-esteem or a poor self-image from concerns about appearance, which can affect quality of life.
- Uveitis, inflammation or swelling in the eye.
- Inflammation in the ear.
Vitiligo is a disease which is incurable but symptomatic (re-pigmentation) treatment is done.
Treatment methods include:-
- Camouflage therapy
- Re-pigmentation therapy
- Light therapy
- Ruxolitinib cream monotherapy for the treatment of vitiligo
Indian association of all dermatologists, venereologists and leprologists introduced a new concept of VITILIGO AWARNESS Programme through “VITILIGO RATHA”, a vehicle which travelled all across Karnataka creating awareness among people about the causes , symptoms, factors and treatment options for vitiligo.
Picture reference:-english.jagran.com picture reference:- pinterest.com
I would like to end by saying that we all must create awareness around us and try seeing the inner beauty that each one of us carries, instead of judging each other with the outer superficial features that we have. We must understand one thing that each one of us is unique in our own way.
“Beauty isn’t about having a pretty face.
It’s about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart, and a pretty soul.”
So on the occasion of World Vitiligo Day, let us all make a promise to remove the taboo and misconception that people have regarding Vitiligo and to start seeing the inner beauty and the positivity that a person carries within.
“Beauty doesn’t last forever but a beautiful personality does.”
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Written By: Preksha Bafna, 3rd-year MBBS, NHL Municipal Medical College