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World Vitiligo Day – Vitiligo: Around 100,000 Austrians suffer from Vitiligo

World Vitiligo Day – Vitiligo: Around 100,000 Austrians suffer from Vitiligo

Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease that causes a localized loss of the skin pigment melanin. It affects all ethnic groups and all genders. The disease usually first appears in children and young adults between the ages of 10 and 30. “If you suspect you have vitiligo, you should definitely see a dermatologist,” says Sabrina H., 33, a vitiligo patient of 13 years. He will professionally diagnose the disease and, if necessary, examine it for comorbidities and initiate appropriate treatment. Even if the diagnosis is already in place, regular check-ups by a specialist should be doneAnd To quickly determine disease activity. In this way, treatment can be adapted to the changing needs of patients, but also to new findings from science and research.

Leo Richter, dermatologist.

Martin Zorn

Vitiligo is a chronic skin condition that presents as a pigmentation disorder, usually on prominent areas such as the face and extremities. In the summer months, the special complexion of vitiligo sufferers comes into its own and often puts a great deal of stress on sufferers. A high level of sun protection is especially important. Leo Richter, dermatologist and surgical specialist in Baden and Vienna

Five times the risk of depression

Vitiligo is a chronic autoimmune skin disease. About 100,000 people in Austria are affected. The number of unreported cases is high, and so are the family members involved. White spots can appear anywhere on the body. Sabrina knows from her own experience that, especially when visible areas of the skin are affected, many sufferers experience stigma in both their professional and private lives. The gradual onset of the disease leads to a significant psychological burden that affects the quality of life. According to studies, people with vitiligo are five times more likely to suffer from depression than healthy people. 56 percent of those affected reported severe negative effects on their self-esteem. In addition, with a diagnosis of vitiligo, the likelihood of concomitant physical illnesses such as thyroid dysfunction or metabolic diseases increases in sufferers.

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International Vitiligo Day since 2011

World Vitiligo Day was created in 2011 to draw attention to the disease and to give those affected a voice. It provides a valuable opportunity to raise public awareness and bring people together. “It is important for patients to have a platform to share their stories, exchange experiences and find mutual support,” confirms Sabrina, who suffers from Vitiligo. The day also serves to encourage professionals, researchers, and organizations to continue striving for progress in the treatment of vitiligo.

A lot has happened since the first World Vitiligo Day in 2011: the process of developing white spots has been extensively researched and the results combined with existing knowledge about autoimmune diseases. In this way, new treatment options can be created that regulate the body’s autoimmune reaction and allow skin pigmentation to be restored.

The autoimmune disease is neither painful nor contagious, yet it can significantly impair the quality of life of sufferers. Vitiligo is not yet curable, but it can be treated easily now. Regular visits to the dermatologist are important as new treatment options emerge. Leo Richter, dermatologist and surgical specialist in Baden and Vienna

Facts about vitiligo

Spread: Vitiligo affects an estimated 0.5 to 2 percent of the world’s population. This means that around 65 to 95 million people worldwide can be affected by this skin disease.

There are no differences between the sexes: Vitiligo occurs equally in men and women, regardless of age, race or social background.

Starting young: Vitiligo can occur at any age, but about half of those affected develop symptoms before the age of 20.

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autoimmune disease: Vitiligo is thought to be a condition in which the immune system attacks the melanocytes that produce skin pigment. However, the exact cause of vitiligo is not yet fully understood.

family disposition: In about 20 percent of those affected, vitiligo also occurs in immediate family members (parents or siblings). The risk of developing the condition is higher if a family member is also affected.

Impact on quality of life: Vitiligo can have both physical and psychological effects. White patches visible on the skin can lead to low self-esteem, social isolation, and stress. This can have a significant impact on the quality of life of those affected.

The three most common myths

Myth 1: Can I get vitiligo? Pervasive anxiety in the social environment and misinformation in the first place is the risk of vitiligo. It is an autoimmune disease where your immune system destroys melanocytes, causing white patches on your skin. The disease cannot be transmitted through touch, bodily fluids, or any other method.

Myth 2: Vitiligo is only a cosmetic problem. It is much more than a cosmetic issue for sufferers. In some cases, those affected have to deal with co-morbidities. In addition, pigmented skin areas are very sensitive to light. Especially in the summer, white areas should be well protected from the sun with a high sun protection factor. Added to this is the enormous psychological burden that the disease causes to many of those affected.

Myth 3: Too much sun exposure causes vitiligo. The expected causes, such as extensive sunbathing, are certainly not among the triggers of vitiligo. However, the exact origin of the disease is not yet fully understood.

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