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HindustanTimes Wed,30 Jul 2014

Myths surrounding vitiligo must be dispelled: Experts

Vandana Singh, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, June 26, 2014
First Published: 13:03 IST(26/6/2014) | Last Updated: 13:05 IST(26/6/2014)

In an initiatiive to create global awareness about vitiligo, World Vitiligo Day is observed on June 25 each year. There are many myths related to the disease, also known as leukoderma or phulvari, such as it’s contagious, not curable, that it can occur due to lack of a balanced diet, but each of these have been denied by experts. The disease can, infact, be cured if the patient undergoes a checkup on time.

Dr Anisha George, dermatologist at Christian Medical College and Hospital said, “There are many types of vitiligo depending on the area of involvement, distribution of lesions and shades of colour within the lesions.”

The options for treatment include light therapy and medications, apart from camouflage creams.

“The goal of the therapy is to create a uniform skin tone. The type of treatment depends on the type of vitiligo, severity, location as well as the patient’s preference,” added Dr Anisha.

Dr Ritu Laiker, skin specialist and laser dermatosurgeon at Axis Skin Clinic and Laser centre, said the disease is curable. “The actual cause for the disease is unknown but it is autoimmune disease and genetic predisposition possibilities are seen in the disease. Few environment factors are also seen aggravating the disease like pesticides in vegetables or fruits etc. Excessive stress or even trauma can trigger the chances of getting the disease,” she added.

“In ‘ayurvedic’ medicine the condition is described it as ‘shvet-kushtha’ or ‘shvitra’,” said Dr R Vatsayan, an ayurvedic practitioner. There are many herbs which have proved to be effective in treating vitiligo. These are bakuchi, bhringraj, chitrak and khadir. Ayurveda discusses local and systemic treatment for vitiligo,” he added.

Homeopahty considers the disease as curable and noncontagious. Dr Amita Chopra, district homeopathic officer said , “Many leukoderma patients who have come to us have recovered after being treated treatment.

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