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2023 Author: Wallace Forman | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 11:04
Vitiligo (white spot disease) is an inflammatory skin disease in which those affected develop characteristic white, sharply defined spots over the course of their life as a result of poor skin pigmentation. In Europe, the disease occurs in around one percent of the population, with around half of those affected being children or adolescents. Although it is a "benign" disease with no physical symptoms, many patients feel stigmatized by their environment because of their white spots…
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Vitiligo is one of the common acquired pigment disorders of the skin. It is based on the destruction of pigment cells in the skin (melanocytes) by substances and cells formed by the immune system - it is therefore an autoimmune disease. The causes are controversial. In addition to a hereditary predisposition, immunological-inflammatory components are suspected. Furthermore, various factors are discussed which can force (“trigger”) the disease. These include:
- mental stress,
- intensive solar radiation,
- mechanical stimuli and injuries to the skin,
- in rare cases, hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy).
Most Vitiligo patients are physically healthy and symptom-free, apart from their skin conditions. Nevertheless, Vitiligo should not be trivialized as a purely cosmetic problem. Because many of those affected suffer from stigmatization due to their white spots, which can lead to psychological problems and social exclusion.
Depending on the shape or extent, a distinction is made between localized and generalized vitiligo.
- Localized, segmental vitiligo: This form affects only one or a few areas of the body and is not symmetrical.
- Generalized, non-segmental vitiligo: This form is the most common, often occurs symmetrically and can affect the entire surface of the body, mucous membranes or hair. A special form of generalized Vitiligo shows itself mainly through white spots on the face as well as on the hands and feet.
In addition to the typical skin changes and the medical history, Vitiligo can be diagnosed by an examination with Wood light (364 nanometers).
Note Thyroid disease often occurs in Vitiligo patients. For this reason, the thyroid values should be measured regularly in sick people.
Initially, the therapy focuses on a possibly existing underlying disease, e.g. a thyroid disease. Known trigger factors should also be avoided. The white spot disease has not yet been curable and in many cases it is progressing. The aim of the treatment is to stop this progression of the skin changes and to achieve the most satisfactory repigmentation possible. There is no treatment specifically designed for Vitiligo with proven effectiveness. Almost all of the options available were originally designed for other conditions. In many cases, however, at least partial success can be achieved. The type and scope of therapy depends primarily on how severe the vitiligo is and how much the person affected suffers from it.
In principle, the local application of corticosteroids or calcineurin inhibitors, various phototherapy procedures, the oral administration of steroids and other immunosuppressants as well as surgical measures (pigment cell transplantation) are available. Self-tanners, waterproof cover creams or cosmetic tattoos, for example on depigmented lips, can also be used. Some patients can also benefit from psychological support.
Whom can I ask?
If you have vitiligo, you should contact a doctor specializing in skin and venereal diseases. He / she will clarify possible causes and trigger factors and suggest the best therapy for you.
How are the costs going to be covered?
All necessary and appropriate therapies are covered by the health insurance carriers. Your doctor or the outpatient clinic will generally settle accounts directly with your health insurance provider. With certain health insurance providers, however, you may have to pay a deductible (BVAEB, SVS, SVS, BVAEB).
However, you can also use a doctor of your choice (ie doctor without a health insurance contract) or a private outpatient clinic. For more information, see Costs and Deductibles.