Vitiligo is a chronic skin disease that affects millions of people worldwide and leads to the formation of white patches on the skin. This condition occurs due to the loss of the skin’s ability to produce pigment due to the loss of function or destruction of skin cells called melanocytes. Vitiligo is a common dermatological condition that can lead to changes in skin colour and socially stressful situations. In this article we have written for you, we will learn about vitiligo and discuss who has the disease, its types and treatment methods.
What Is Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a skin disease that causes pigment loss, characterized by white spots with clear borders, mostly on the skin. This disease occurs due to the reduction or disappearance of cells called melanocytes, which determine the color of the skin. Vitiligo can occur at any age and on any skin type, but it usually starts before the age of 20. Although the exact cause of vitiligo is not yet known, genetic factors, autoimmune diseases and environmental factors are thought to play a role in the development of the disease.
Who Can Get Vitiligo?
Vitiligo can be seen in all age groups and skin types, but it usually starts before the age of 20 and has some risk factors. People with a family history of vitiligo have a higher risk of developing the disease. Also, those with autoimmune diseases (for example, thyroid diseases, lupus and type 1 diabetes) or those whose skin is exposed to trauma such as constant friction or sunburn are also at risk of developing vitiligo.
What Are The Types of Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is generally divided into two main types; segmental vitiligo and non-segmental vitiligo.
Segmental vitiligo; This type of vitiligo occurs only on one side of the body or in a specific area and usually starts quickly. Segmental vitiligo is more common in children and young people and is less common than other types of vitiligo.
Non-segmental vitiligo; This type of vitiligo is characterized by white spots that appear symmetrically on both sides of the body. Non-segmental vitiligo usually starts on the hands, feet, face and skin folds and can spread over time. This type of vitiligo is the most common form seen in the majority of patients.
Various subtypes of vitiligo also exist and can be classified according to the spread of the disease and the affected areas. These include localized vitiligo, generalized vitiligo and universal vitiligo. Since each patient’s vitiligo condition is different, it is important to collaborate with dermatologists for correct diagnosis and treatment.
What Causes Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a skin disease characterised by white spots on the skin that occurs as a result of the loss of function or destruction of cells called melanocytes in the skin. Melanocytes are the cells that produce melanin, the colour pigment of the skin. Melanin is a pigment that determines the colour of the skin and protects it from ultraviolet rays. Although the exact cause of vitiligo is not known, several factors are thought to be involved in the emergence of the disease.
- It has been observed that vitiligo has a familial predisposition. Individuals with a family history of vitiligo have a higher risk of developing the disease.
- There are theories that vitiligo occurs as a result of the immune system attacking and destroying its own melanocyte cells. This condition is recognised as an autoimmune disease.
- Neurotic Theory. According to this theory, vitiligo occurs as a result of nerves damaging melanocyte cells.
- Damage to melanocyte cells as a result of increased free radicals in the body and weakening of the antioxidant defense system may contribute to the formation of vitiligo.
- Environmental factors such as exposure to chemical substances, sunburn, skin traumas and stress may also be effective in the emergence of vitiligo.
What Are The Symptoms of Vitiligo?
Vitiligo manifests itself with white spots on the skin, which is its most prominent feature. These spots can occur in any part of the body and can grow over time. Vitiligo symptoms are as follows;
- White spots on the skin,
- Changes in Hair Colour,
- Changes in Eye and Ear Colour,
- Itching of the skin
Vitiligo symptoms may vary from person to person and the rate of progression of the disease may also be different. It is important that individuals with suspected vitiligo are evaluated by a dermatologist.
How Is Vitiligo Diagnosed?
Vitiligo can usually be diagnosed by the patient’s complaints, physical examination and some laboratory tests. Here are the details on how vitiligo is diagnosed:
The diagnosis of vitiligo usually begins with the patient’s complaints about white spots on the skin and the doctor’s examination of these spots. The spots are usually symmetrically located on both sides of the body and are often seen in areas such as hands, face, knees and ankles.
Another method used in the diagnosis of vitiligo is the Wood’s lamp examination. This is a special ultraviolet lamp that makes the vitiligo spots more visible. Under Wood’s lamp, vitiligo spots appear brighter and whiter than normal skin.
In some cases, a skin biopsy may be needed to diagnose vitiligo. During this procedure, the doctor takes a small tissue sample from the skin and sends it to the laboratory for examination under a microscope. If the biopsy shows that melanocyte cells are reduced or absent, vitiligo can be diagnosed.
In some cases, vitiligo may be associated with autoimmune diseases such as thyroid diseases, diabetes and pernicious anemia. Therefore, doctors may order blood tests to check for the presence of these diseases.
In rare cases, imaging tests may be used to diagnose vitiligo. Especially if there are suspicions about the patient’s thyroid gland, tests such as ultrasound or radioactive iodine scanning can be applied.
How Is Vitiligo Treated?
Vitiligo treatment may vary depending on the age of the patient, the type of vitiligo, the size and extent of the spots. The main goal of the treatment is to stop the loss of pigment in the skin and restore the normal color of the skin. Some methods used in vitiligo treatment are as follows;
- Creams and ointments such as topical corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors and vitamin D analogues can be used first in the treatment of vitiligo. These drugs aim to stop the loss of pigment in the skin and return the skin to its normal color.
- Phototherapy is a treatment method that stimulates the skin’s pigment production using ultraviolet (UV) rays. The most commonly used type of phototherapy in the treatment of vitiligo is narrow band UVB (DB-UVB) treatment. PUVA (psoralen and UVA) treatment can also be used, but is less favored.
- Microskin grafting is the process of transplanting small tissue samples taken from the patient’s normal pigmented skin into vitiligo spots. This method is usually applied for patients who do not respond to other treatments or who want a fast and effective result.
- Skin Colour Equalisation Treatments. These treatments aim to reduce the color difference in the skin by bleaching the normal pigmented skin around the vitiligo spots. These methods include applications such as cryotherapy (cold treatment), laser treatment and chemical peeling.
- Cosmetic products can be used to cover vitiligo spots and equalize skin color. Especially water-resistant products suitable for the skin type should be preferred.
- Vitiligo can affect patients’ self-confidence and quality of life. Therefore, psychological support should be included in vitiligo treatment. Psychotherapy, group therapy and stress management techniques can help patients cope with the emotional difficulties they experience.
Vitiligo Treatment Prices in Turkey
Turkey has succeeded in making its name known to the world with its investments and Especially the latest technological devices used in diagnosis and treatment procedures have been a beacon of hope for many diseases. However, there has been an increase in health tourism in Türkiye.
- Hospitals are large, clean, spacious and fully equipped in terms of technological equipment.
- Turkish doctors are specialized, successful, and skilled in their fields.
- Nurses and carers are friendly and compassionate.
- Finding answers to the questions asked quickly and accurately.
- Patience and understanding of all staff, including the intermediary company dealing with the patient.
- Turkey offers holiday opportunities with its natural and historical beauties.
- Easy transportation.
- Diagnosis, treatment, accommodation, eating, drinking, dressing, and holiday needs can be met at affordable prices.
Such situations are shown among the reasons for preference. Regarding Vitiligo Treatment Prices in Turkey, we can see that patients and their relatives who want to come to Turkey are doing research. However, it would not be correct to give clear price information at this stage. Many factors such as the type of disease, stage, diagnosis process, treatment process, and stay in Türkiye affect the price issue. If you want to get more detailed price information, you can contact us. In addition, if you come to Turkey for treatment through us, we can facilitate your visa application process with the invitation letter sent by us to the consulate.
Prof.Dr. Ergün Dağlıoğlu (Eğitim Görevlisi), Beyin Cerrahı, Beyin Ve Sinir Cerrahisi
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