What Is Vitiligo and Who Does It Affect?

vitiligo-genesVitiligo is a skin disease that affects approximately 1% of the population, in which the afflicted possess patches of skin that lose pigmentation. This disease can affect the skin, mucous membranes, hair and ears leaving white patches. Vitiligo’s cause is not entirely known but it is thought to be an autoimmune disease or deficiency, due to the fact that particular white blood cells attack the melonocytes (pigment-producing cells) in the body.  For about one-third of the affected population, this disease is hereditary. Having vitiligo can predispose your body to other conditions, such as: Diabetes, B12 Deficiency and Hyperthyroidism.

How Is Diabetes Preventable for Someone with Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is associated with Diabetes, which feeds to the theory of Vitiligo being an autoimmune disease, due to both affecting and destroying cells. Someone with Vitiligo is capable of taking preventative steps against Diabetes. Mainly this involves keeping at a healthy weight, avoiding sugars and saturated fat, and maintaining a regular exercise schedule. Try to aim for 30 mins or more of moderate physical activity on most days of the week.

diabetes-vitiligo

Is B12 Deficiency Avoidable and Treatable for Someone with Vitiligo?

Vitamin B12 is among many salient vitamins and minerals necessary for proper body function. Moreover, it is known that most people with vitiligo have low levels of vitamin B12. In turn, low levels of this vitamin can lead to worsening of vitiligo and to the person feeling chronically lethargic, tired, and suffering from lack of concentration.

For information on combating B12 deficiency check out our article: Tired All The Time? You May Be Lacking Vitamin B12

Hyperthyroidism, Vitiligo and How to Prevent This Duo?

thyroid-vitiligoVitiligo and Hyperthyroidism have had connections drawn between them in the medical world since 1966. In studies ran by the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, they found that the risk for hyperthyroidism is increased with age in patients with Vitiligo. In the aforementioned studies ran by the University of Amsterdam, it was found that “Patients with Vitiligo were 1.9 times more likely to have Thyroid Disease, 2.5 times more likely to have Autoimmune Thyroid Disease, and 5.2 times more likely to test positive for thyroid specific antibodies than individuals without Vitiligo.” Therefore, it is important that those with Vitiligo are screened for Thyroid Disease regularly to ensure proper steps are taken towards avoidance.

Final Words:

The aims of this article are not to further worry vitiligo-affected persons, but rather to inform, so that preventive steps are taken. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a good body weight, and getting regular exercise can help prevent all three conditions mentioned above. It is also extremely important that you get your blood sugar tested to rule out diabetes, and to have yearly checks for your thyroid. In addition, if you suffer from chronic tiredness and fatigue, you should ask your doctor to check your vitamin B12 levels and take a supplement if your levels are found to be low.

Sources: