VITILIGO–A LONG TERM NON-FATAL SKIN CONDITION
(WORLD VITILIGO DAY…..25th June)- Dr.Sunil Chopra
Vitiligo or Leucoderma (PHULBEHRI in Hindi) is a non-fatal long term skin disease that can psychologically devastate the patient by producing inferiority complex and causing a considerable burden on his /her daily life.At times It may make weak minds sad ,gloomy and stigmatised for cosmetic reasons ,but the strong ones still live their lives fully with this condition .
The white patches here and there having usually sharp margins make one look really hideous.There occurs a loss of colour in the skin creating a variety of patterns on the skin due to HYPOPIGMENTATION.
It is characterised by the loss of special skin cells called Melanocytes which make Melanin,this in turn makes the affected area white .Melanin is a natural skin pigment.Although exact cause of Vitiligo is unknown but lately it has been clearly classified as an autoimmune disease,associated with environmental and genetic factors . Trauma and sunburn can precipitate the appearance of Vitiligo.
The name VITILIGO was first used by the Roman Physician A.C.Celsus in his treatise ‘DE MEDICINA’ .The word is derived from ‘VITIUM’ which stands for ‘defect or blemish.’ Leucoderma and Vitiligo are synonymous to each other. ‘Leuco’ stands for ‘White’ and ‘ Derma’ for ‘skin’. In Ayurveda it is called as ‘Shwitra or Shwet – kushtha’.Though,AYUSH has enormous claims on effective treatment for it,but there is no absolute cure for this condition .
For treatment the patient must be strongly motivated as therapy may be long,costly ,tedious and unfruitful.The doctors of modern system of medicine treat the patients after doing tissue biopsy and blood tests with local and oral Steroids,use Sunscreens,makeups,PUVA therapy (photochemotherapy),etc.PUVA is a combination treatment consisting of PSORALENS and later exposing the skin to UVA(long wave ultraviolet radiation) .
The ‘WORLD VITILIGO DAY ‘ held on 25th June, aims at building global awareness regarding the disease and allaying all fears related to it.The condition occurs in only 1 % of the total population the world over.
There exists a ‘VITILIGO SOCIETY’ in the UK…a charity which supports,inspires and educates about Vitiligo .
VSI is a voluntary support group in our country for Vitiligo patients. SHWETA ASSOCIATION is another leading Vitiligo support group in India which gives due weightage to emotional,psychological,social and daily needs of Vitiligo sufferers.It takes a holistic approach to all their problems.
Dr.Sunil Chopra,Ludhiana-India. 9815574644 email@example.com
Dr Sunil Chopra is an alumnus of SCD Govt. College, Ludhiana