As soon as you notice the first spot of skin with discoloration get in touch with your doctor to get the right diagnosis. Your doctor will ask questions and perform tests to rule out other disorders to determine if you have Vitiligo. Other conditions such as piebaldism, tuberous sclerosis, Ito’s hypomelanosis and pityriasisversicolor can mimic Vitiligo symptoms.
The examination begins by looking at:
- Color – The depigmented or white patches or macules of the affected area including hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation or redness due to inflammation around the edges
- Palpation – feeling the affected area to determine if the patch is flat and not scaly
- Location – although the patches can appear anywhere the doctor will look at common areas to see if there is a pattern for Vitiligo including premature graying or whitening of your hair in different parts of your body
- Progression – the growth as well as rate of growth of each patch is examined
- Injuries – Vitiligo sometimes starts after an injury such as a rash or sunburn
- Wood’s lamp – this is an ultraviolet lamp which accentuates patches. It is performed in a dark room held 4 – 5 inches (or 10-13 cm) away from your skin. This helps your doctor determine if it is Vitiligo or another condition such as pityriasisversicolor, a yeast infection which causes loss of pigment.
Risk Factors and Tests
Although the exact cause of Vitiligo is not known certain risk factors have been linked with patients who have contracted the disease, these include:
- Autoimmune disorders such as diabetes and Addison’s Disease
- Very stressful conditions
- Severe trauma
- Exposure to chemicals
Blood tests can be performed to determine proper thyroid function as well as biopsies of the affected area for examination. An eye exam can also help diagnose Vitiligo. Once again the exact cause of Vitiligo has not been established this means your doctor can not tell you how you acquired Vitiligo but you can get it the right diagnosis and with the help of your doctor can treat your condition with the best available therapy.