British Skin Foundation - Vitiligo

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Can vitiligo affect my health at all?

Postby Guest Posts on Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:05 am

I think I am starting to develop vitiligo. I have an appointment with my GP booked in to confirm, but in the meantime can you tell me whether it will affect my health in other ways, as well as my skin colour?

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Re: Can vitiligo affect my health at all?

Postby Dr Adil Sheraz on Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:41 pm

Dear Sarah. Thank you for your question. I guess in the first instance you would need confirmation that your condition is indeed vitiligo. There are other conditions including simple fungal/yeast infections of the skin that can present with patchy lighter skin. If indeed you are confirmed to have vitiligo then this is purely a skin disease with loss of pigmentation. It can occasionally cause a loss of pigmentation in the hair. Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease and as such you will have a slightly higher risk of developing other autoimmune conditions such as thyroid disease or diabetes. Sometimes it may be worth having blood tests to check for these conditions particularly if you have other unexplained symptoms. The vitiligo in itself does not cause the other related conditions. On the whole people with vitiligo lead healthy lives but will need to use regular sun block due the increased risk of burning in the affected areas.

Good luck with your GP visit and seeking help from a dermatologist early on in the disease process may give you a better chance of reversing the depigmentation, the condition however is very unpredictable.
Dr Adil Sheraz
Consultant Dermatologist - MBBS, BMEDSCI(HONS), MRCP (UK), MRCP (DERMATOLOGY) (UK)
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