Vitiligo

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Who is affected by vitiligo?

Many people develop it in their twenties, but it can occur at any age. The disorder affects all races and both sexes equally, however, it is more noticeable in people with dark skin.

People with certain autoimmune diseases (such as hyperthyroidism) are more likely to get vitiligo than people who don't have any autoimmune diseases. Scientists do not know why vitiligo is connected with these diseases. However, most people with vitiligo have no other autoimmune disease.

Vitiligo may also run in families. Children whose parents have the disorder are more likely to develop vitiligo. However, most children will not get vitiligo even if a parent has it.

What are the symptoms vitiligo?

White patches on the skin are the main sign of vitiligo. These patches are more common in areas where the skin is exposed to the sun. The patches may be on the hands, feet, arms, face, and lips. Other common areas for white patches are:

  • The armpits and groin (where the leg meets the body)
  • Around the mouth
  • Eyes
  • Nostrils
  • Navel
  • Genitals
  • Rectal areas.

People with vitiligo often have hair that turns gray early. Those with dark skin may notice a loss of color inside their mouths.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/1/2014

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