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All about vitiligo causes of vitiligo symptoms of vitiligo diagnosis of vitiligo medical treatments for vitiligo surgical therapies for vitiligo alternative therapies for vitiligo

How is the diagnosis of vitiligo made?

Important factors in a patient's medical history include: vitiligo in the family; a rash, sunburn, or other skin trauma at the site of vitiligo 2 to 3 months before depigmentation started; stress or physical illness; and premature graying of the hair (before

age 35). In addition, it is important to know whether the patient or anyone in the patient's family has had any autoimmune diseases and whether the patient is very sensitive to the sun.

The doctor then examines the patient to rule out other medical problems. The doctor may take a small sample (biopsy) of the affected skin and may also take a blood sample to check the blood-cell count and thyroid function. For some patients, the doctor may recommend an eye examination to check for uveitis (inflammation of the front portion of the eye). A special blood test to look for the presence of antinuclear antibodies (a type of autoantibody) may also be done. These evaluations can help to determine if the patient has an additional autoimmune disease.

For some patients, the doctor may recommend an eye examination to check for uveitis (inflammation of part of the eye). A blood test to look for the presence of antinuclear antibodies (a type of autoantibody) may also be done. This test helps determine if the patient has another autoimmune disease.

More information on vitiligo

What is vitiligo? - Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease in which pigment cells (melanocytes) are destroyed, resulting in irregularly shaped white patches on the skin. Vitiligo consists of white patches of skin.
What causes vitiligo? - In vitiligo, specific autoantibodies against a patient's melanocytes are found in the blood. Vitiligo may also be due to a nerve disorder.
What are the symptoms of vitiligo? - People who develop vitiligo usually first notice white patches on their skin. Vitiligo causes light or white patches on skin that are symmetrical.
How is the diagnosis of vitiligo made? - Important vitiligo diagnosis factors in a patient's medical history include: vitiligo in the family; a rash, sunburn, or other skin trauma, tress or physical illness.
What are the medical treatments for vitiligo? - The goal of treating vitiligo is to restore the function of the skin and to improve the patient's appearance. Vitiligo should be treated only if it causes emotional or social distress.
What are the surgical therapies for vitiligo? - Surgical therapies for vitiligo include autologous skin grafts, skin grafts using blisters, micropigmentation (tattooing), and autologous melanocyte transplants.
What alternative therapies are available for vitiligo? - Alternative therapies for vitiligo include sunscreens, cosmetics, counseling from support groups. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005, health-cares.net, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005