Vitiligo Research Paper

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Vitiligo is a skin condition that results in the loss of pigment. Melanocytes, the melanin or pigment producing cells within the body, are destroyed; therefore, preventing the body from making pigment for both the skin and the hair. As a result, skin develops white patches throughout and hair may turn white or gray at an early age. The skin is an integral part of the human body. It is made up of two layers, the epidermis and the dermis. In addition, there are specialized cells within the integumentary system, such as tactile cells for sensing touch, langherans cells, which ingest foreign substances, and melanocytes, which produce pigment. Melanin, a byproduct of melanocytes, can be anywhere from a reddish yellow to a brownish black in color (Marieb & Hoehn, 2013).…show more content…
The causes of vitiligo are uncertain; however it is believed to be an autoimmune disease, in other words, the body essentially attacks its’ own self. It is thought that the immune system attacks the melanocytes, or that the melanocytes destroy other melanocytes, leading to the depigmentation we see with vitiligo (National Institute of Health, 2014). It is also possible that vitiligo is passed down genetically; however it has yet to be proven. While the pathophysiology of vitiligo has yet to be defined as definite, patterns and trends have been observed. For instance, those with vitiligo are thought to be at a higher risk for other autoimmune diseases such as thyroid disease and type I diabetes mellitus because high levels of anti-TPO antibodies have been seen in both individuals with thyroid disease as well as vitiligo (Gude, 2012). In conclusion, it is suggested that those who are diagnosed with vitiligo also be tested for thyroid

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