A thorough understanding of the skin can guide in understanding how vitiligo is caused. The skin has two layers primarily the epidermis and the dermis. The dermis contains a layer of fat and also structures such as muscles and tendons. The epidermis contains cells called melanocytes, which contains a pigment called melanin. This pigment gives color to the skin and protects it from sun rays. Melanin causes tanning of the skin in people who have fair complexion and dark skinned people have more active melanocytes. These melanocytes when exposed to the sun produce more melanin.
Who are the people prone to be affected by vitiligo?
Based on researches done, doctors have reported that only 1 in a hundred people develop vitiligo. This skin disease affects both men and woman equally. It starts it effects on the body of both men and women before they reach the age of 20.
When is vitiligo caused?
When any damage is caused to the melanocytes, it stops the production of melanin in the body. This in turn leads to the skin losing its color. The reason behind why this phenomenon takes place is not yet known to mankind.
How is vitiligo diagnosed in people?
Some of the common questions asked by a doctor before you are diagnosed
- Whether any of your family members have vitiligo
- Do any of your family members have any autoimmune diseases?
- Whether you had any skin diseases before vitiligo affected you
- Are you undergoing any stress or any other tensions on a daily basis?
- Is your skin sensitive to the sun?
Tests that can diagnose vitiligo
- ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Antinuclear antibody is a test that is used to detect the presence of autoimmune disorders in a person’s body. This disorders effects many tissues and organs in the body.
- Thyroid peroxidase antibody– A type of testing that is used to primarily diagnose, autoimmune thyroid disease and also to separate it from other forms of thyroiditis
- Control blood count differential– A full blood examination, used get information on the number of cells in the blood of a person.
- Comprehensive metabolic panel – It is a blood test that is used to measure the levels of your sugar (glucose), electrolyte and functions of your kidney and liver.
- 25 hydroxyvitamin D test– It is a test used to detect bone weakness or other bone malfunctions, that may occur due to the deficiency of vitamin D.