Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vitiligo.... Is it an autoimmune disease?

As we all know, Vitiligo is a loss of skin melanocytes that causes areas of skin depigmentation of varying sizes.

Incidence rate is comparatively higher in laborers of Gujarath, Rajasthan working in dyeing, and printing industry. 50 % of the affected groups are from below 20 yrs. Those affected below 10 yrs of age, Clinical manifestation of the disease - as a single nerve distribution unilaterally, known as dermatomal vitiligo. Family history play some role in about 18-20% of patients.
Vitiligo commonly involves the face, digits, dorsal hands,flexor digits,elbows,knees,shins,dorsal ankles,armpit,inguinal area,anogenital area,umbilicus and nipples.

Types

It may be Generalised Vitiligo: involving most of the skin surface

Segmental Vitiligo: Depigmentation may be localized, involving 1 or 2 spots or entire body segments

Vitiligo and autoimmunity

Etiology is unclear, According to some recent reasearches, the variation in the ratio of different lymphocytes and norepinephrin are the main causative elements .Exacerbation of the illiness noticed after various stressful states of the body such as injuries,pregnancy,delivery ,operations etc.

Vitiligo and autoimmune diseases

About 30% of vitiligo patients are also suffering from thyroid related autoimmune diseases. The strongest association is with hyperthyroidism (Grave's disease) and hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's thyroiditis), besides this existence of diabetis, pernicious anemia, addisons disease are also identified . However, the relationship is unclear and may be coincidental. These all lead to the speculation that it is an autoimmune disease

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