Home Health Nigerians with vitiligo face stigma – a skin doctor calls for better support

Nigerians with vitiligo face stigma – a skin doctor calls for better support

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Vitiligo – a disease that causes pale patches on the skin and mucous membranes – can be psychologically devastating. Changes in skin color can even raise questions about a person’s identity, as is the case with Nigerians. the bank asked him Re-register his national identification number. Vitiligo A partial or large loss of skin pigment (color). Dermatologist Umar Abdullahi has seen how upsetting and stigmatizing the condition can be, especially for darker-skinned people.

How common is vitiligo and who gets it?

Vitiligo is the most common skin pigmentation disorder.affects 0.1% to 2% of most populations worldwide. Vitiligo prevalence in the Nigerian range From 2.8% to 6.6% in various regions of the country. of highest prevalence of 6.6% It is located in Ibadan, southwestern Nigeria.

usually begins in childhood or adolescence, Onset peaks between the ages of 10 and 30However, it can occur at any age. Both males and females are equally affected, with no racial differences in incidence.

vitiligo is not contagiousNo one can acquire it through physical contact, sexual intercourse, or sharing tools with someone who has the condition.

Cause and treatment

Normally, the skin contains a pigment called melanin. It is produced by cells called melanocytes. Melanin pigment is responsible for skin, eye and hair color. Vitiligo occurs when melanocytes die or stop producing melanin. The exact cause of melanocyte destruction is unknown.but it might be related disorders of the immune system (autoimmune disease). This means that cells in the body are destroying melanocytes.

person with vitiligo high risk Risk of developing other associated autoimmune diseases such as adrenal insufficiency, pernicious anemia, diabetes mellitus and thyroid disorders.

Various precipitating factors have been suggested for vitiligo. These include Physical trauma to the skin, sunburn, psychological stress, inflammation, pregnancy, contraceptive use, vitamin deficiencies, and many others. However, no specific environmental triggers have been proven.

Vitiligo is a progressive disease that is often difficult to treat. Response to treatment may be slow and disappointing. However, there are treatment options available. They include topical and systemic medications, phototherapy (phototherapy), and surgical interventions. The main goals of treatment are to stop progression, prevent complications such as sunburn, and ensure repigmentation of white spots.

The choice of treatment depends on the age of the affected person, extent of skin involvement, body site affected, disease progression, and impact on quality of life.

Addressing the psychological effects of illness is also important.

Psychosocial aspects of vitiligo

Vitiligo is a non-communicable disease and rarely leads to serious physical illness. serious mental disorder in the affected person. Many people with this disease suffer from shame, embarrassment, low self-esteem, and social withdrawal.

psychosocial problems Poor body image, poor social relationships, marital problems, social discrimination and stigma.

Vitiligo lesions – pale patches of skin – are more clearly visible in darker-skinned people due to their greater contrast. . Research done in Nigeria Assessing quality of life in vitiligo subjects shows that the condition has a significant impact.

Own study We showed that the impact on quality of life was associated with age, gender, socioeconomic status, disease activity, family history of vitiligo, disease duration, and educational attainment.

Women were found to have a greater impact on their quality of life than men. Younger age groups, especially those aged 28-37, tended to have a lower quality of life. They faced peer pressure, lack of respect, professional struggles, and difficult social or emotional relationships.

Vitiligo patients in high-income groups tended to have worse quality of life than others. This was because they tended to be more conscious of their health and appearance as they could afford to buy quality health care and fashionable clothing.

Patients without a family history of the disease tended to have a poorer quality of life compared with those with a family history of the disease. This may be because such a person was not familiar with the disease. They were also more likely to be stigmatized, even within their families. Patients with a family history may have empathetic social support systems.

The more educated people with vitiligo are, the lower their quality of life. They may have had higher expectations for treatment outcomes.

People with vitiligo often face social stigma and discrimination from close relatives, employers, and the community at large.

Social beliefs can deteriorate The situation of vitiligo patients, especially women. For example, some people believe that vitiligo is “God’s punishment” for their sins. Such beliefs can lead to personal suffering and broken relationships.

Addressing stigma and discrimination

Vitiligo, like all other chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, should be viewed without distinction. Those affected must be supported and accommodated by their families and communities.

It is important for patients and families to identify signs of depression early. These signs include hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, loss of interest, sadness, and self-blame.

measures Reducing depression and anxiety in both children and adults with vitiligo includes psychotherapy, medication, and active management.

You can boost your self-esteem by joining a support group such as my vitiligo team When vitiligo societyThese groups bring together people with vitiligo and their loved ones to share experiences, encouragement and support.

Governments should enact policies and laws against discrimination and stigma against chronic diseases, including vitiligo. Affected individuals should not be discriminated against at work or in society at large. They should be supported socially and financially.

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