Leucoderma is a rare skin disease characterized by white spots and patches. In this distressful but not contagious disease, there is a gradual loss of pigment called melanin from the dermal layers that results into white patches. Leucoderma may begin with a small patch but slowly and steadily spreads throughout the body. The actual cause is still not known though several studies have been conducted on the subject. Some of the perceived causes are emotional stress, hereditary factors, worms, sunburns and physical illness.
What causes Leucoderma is still not known. Despite advanced research, medicine is still trying to figure out the exact cause of Leucoderma. There are numerous theories as to what could cause this disease. To-date three theories have been widely accepted. The first theory is one of mistaken identity states that the immune system mistakes the pigment cells for foreign bodies and destroys them. The second theory says that certain chemical agents destroy the pigment generating cells.
The third theory, on the other hand, suggests that the cells are destroyed due to chemical exposure. Whatever the cause, the course of the disease is certain which is the destruction of pigment cells. But why do only certain areas or parts of the body get affected? Despite of the fact that pigments cells are present throughout the body then why doesn't this disease affect the entire body is still a mystery. However, there are many health experts who believe that the main causes of leucoderma are excessive mental stress.
Chronic or acute gastric diseases can contribute to Leucoderma. People who have impaired hepatic function as in jaundice, worm infestations or other parasite infestations in the alimentary canal are prone to have those white patches. White patches need not always spell doom as only a fraction of them could be the dreaded Leucoderma. A majority of the cases including why Leucoderma spots are white are amenable to medical management.
Symptoms of Leucoderma may include loss of hair, premature graying of hair and white patches. The whiteness generally appears as a small discolored white/pale or brown spot that later spreads in size. The spots become whiter day-after-day and finally become milky white. There might be general weakness and lassitude and a victim may have sensitivity towards cold. The patches or marks can be caused due to plenty of reasons; the most common among them are worm infestation and/or calcium deficiencies. These patches may produce lot of psychological stress in the victim.
Noteworthy is the fact that Leucoderma can not be caused by consuming contrasting food items like fish/onions with milk. Vitamin-C rich foods, which were once thought to promote the disorder process, are no longer restricted either. Several researches proved their beneficial role as antioxidants.
The general population is at a risk of 1-2 % to develop leucoderma. Considering if the Leucoderma is hereditary, we'll come to know that children of parents where one or both have Leucoderma are only at a fraction of a higher risk than the general population. The researches show that even with no family history for generations, any normal and fit person too stands a chance of developing Leucoderma. White patches need not always spell doom as only a fraction of them could be the dreaded Leucoderma.
A majority of the cases including why Leucoderma spots are white are amenable to medical management. To confirm whether a white patch is Leucoderma or not, they have an outline darker than the skin, must be irregular in appearance, gradually increase in size and appear milky white under an ultraviolet light.
Leucodermal conditions have huge psycho-social impact. No age is exempt and genetic re-disposition is there. The most affected areas of the disease include the hands, the neck, the back and the wrists in the order. The condition does not cause any harm to the body organs. Those with Leucoderma must consult a doctor in case of feeling depressed. You'd be wise to consult mental health professionals and doctors before you fall a victim of depression or anxiety.
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Q: What is Lekoderma? How is it spread? If one member of the family has lekoderma, what are the odds of others catching the same disease?
A: Lekoderma is a diseased state of skin where melanocytes lose the ability to produce melanin, a pigment that determines the normal colouration of skin. As a result of which white patches of depigmentation appear on skin. No exact cause is yet known to science but scientific research is underway promising a safe and reliable cure of this disease. Lekoderma is not a contagious disease; it does not spread by touching or eating with the person suffering from Lekoderma. This practice is highly discouraged. Lekoderma patients should not be stigmatized or isolated because of their diseased condition for this is insensitive and inhuman. Lekoderma patients are normal people like us having the same abilities as we do or even more. In fact they are us. Lekoderma may or may not be congenital. As this disease is little understood, nothing can be said about it with certainty. Parents having Lekoderma are more likely to give birth to babies suffering from Lekoderma, however, this does not mean that a Lekoderma parent will always give birth to a Lekoderma baby. Similarly if one member of a family has Vitiligo, it does not necessarily mean that others will suffer from it or catch it.