What is Vitiligo, is it Contagious: Causes, Definition, Facts and Heredity

Vitiligo causes alterations in the skin’s pigment. The splotchy discoloration is emotionally devastating for many sufferers. They feel like a dalmatian. The blotches develop all over the torso, legs, arms, even on the face, upper chest, shoulders, and neck. Some sufferers also have a loss of color in the mouth and nostrils. People try a multitude of ways to hide the pigment loss such as makeup, powders, and creams, but sadly it is difficult to hide.

Wondering What is Vitiligo?

The skin contains pigment-producing cells that are referred to as melanocytes. They are what gives skin, hair, and even your eyes their color. When the melanocytes die, the skin turns white. The conditions are not contagious. This discoloration is dramatic in darker-skinned individuals such as those of African American, Latino, or Middle Eastern descent.

Researchers are unsure of exactly what causes the cells to die but they believe they relate it too:

  • Heredity and Genetic Propensity: Genetics play a role in 50 percent of cases.
  • Autoimmune Immune System Disorders such as Thyroid Disease
  • Triggers Such as Sunburn, Exposure to Certain Chemicals, or Stress

Most scientists and medical professionals concur the cells perish after unrelenting onslaught from the body’s own immune system.

The Vitiligo Definition

If your skin turns snow white, then you are suffering from the demise of the melanocyte which is a pigment used to shade skin. The vitiligo definition refers to the destruction of melanocytes and the depigmented patches that appear much whiter than the surrounding skin.

They often call the condition gained leukoderma or sometimes piebald skin just like a spotted horse.

Wondering is Vitiligo Hereditary?

If you suffer from vitiligo, then you must look at your family’s lineage Vitiligo hereditary factors appear to be strong. Anyone with a family tree and close relatives who suffer from autoimmune disorders has an impressive chance of developing the disorder. Researchers have found several forms of vitiligo.

Generalized (nonsegmental vitiligo): The most prevalent form. Depigmentation emerges on the neck, scalp, and face plus circling body openings such as the genitals, nose, eyes, and mouth. Many also suffer the loss of pigment on all mucous membranes. Any area that is rubbed or undergoes friction might also lose pigment. Trauma on the legs, hands, and arms also bring about reduced pigment. Also, anywhere where the bone is located close to the skin’s surface.

Segmental Vitiligo: Suffers have smaller patches of white in very limited areas. Such individuals usually only have patches covering 10 percent of their bodies.

What is the Vitiligo Causes

Autoimmune disorders lead the pack. Up to 20 percent of vitiligo causes point towards autoimmune problems such as:

  • Graves Disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Thyroid malfunction
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Addison’s disease
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Hashimoto’s disease

Health and Physical Functioning

Vitiligo does not alter your health or your ability to function. However, many people start to develop deep depression and even suicidal thoughts Whenever they venture out into public they feel that people are looking at them or laughing behind their backs.

Many people who view vitiligo sufferers do not understand that the disorder is non contagious so they naturally fear the sufferers and avoid contact.

Vitiligo Pictures Depicting the Condition

The margins of the vitiligo patches can be smooth and blend well or it can inflame them and itchy. If you are wondering how to identify vitiligo, please remember that everyone is different. Take the time to look at the vitiligo pictures.

Genetics and Vitiligo

As mentioned, vitiligo appears to run in families. IF your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins have the disorder or an associated autoimmune disorder then your chances increase. To pronounce vitiligo is often hard for some people because they fear that they will end up just like their relatives. Two genes: NLRP1 and PTPN22 have been associated with making a crucial protein for the immune system.

They also regulate the process of inflammation with an unrelenting fervor. If the immune system is stimulated then it signals the body’s white blood cells and molecules to the area of disease or wound to fight the microbial threat. The body also naturally inhibits the inflammation response to protect the tissue and cells.

Insurance and Codes

In America, insurance companies balk at paying upscale payouts without correct billing codes. Vitiligo ICD 10 Code is L80 which must be keyed in to gain any form of payment or reimbursement for the disease after you have sought medical care.

Approved Treatments

The United States Food and Drug Association (FDA) has protested any form of laser treatment or topical to treat vitiligo. Sadly, around the world the ramifications of the disorder are disastrous. Entire families shun sufferers. In many countries, they may not marry or are excluded from arranged marriages. Many sufferers request medical amputations to hide the fact they have vitiligo so they can marry.

  • Laser treatments help stimulate brown spotting around follicles to help shade in the snowy skin.
  • Ointments rich in tacrolimus or pimecrolimus (calcineurin inhibitors) appear to help restore some color to small patches.
  • Psoralen combined with light therapy has shown some promise.
  • Xeljanz (tofacitinib) combined with UV therapy appears to hold promise.



Article References:

  1. https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/10751/vitiligo
  2. https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/vitiligo#genes
  3. https://www.icd10data.com/ICD10CM/Codes/L00-L99/L80-L99/L80-/L80
  4. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-07-treatment-disfiguring-skin-diseasevitiligo.html
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vitiligo/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355916