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Question:

From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA:

Are diabetes and skin discoloration (leucoderma) related? If so, what is the remedy?

Answer:

Leucoderma (also spelled leukoderma) is a synonym for vitiligo which is an autoimmune disorder of the skin which is now recognised as being, like Type 1 diabetes mellitus, part of a group of autoimmune diseases which also includes Addison's disease (adrenal gland failure), pernicious anemia, gonadal failure and thyroid disease. This group of disorders is sometimes called the autoimmune polyendocrine syndromes.

Vitiligo is present as multiple depigmented, oval or irregularly shaped flat skin discolorations, often symmetrically distributed over the extremities and around the body orifices. It has been recognised that the melanocytes (the cells of the skin that make the pigments) are absent in vitiliginous skin, in the same autoimmune-like manner as diabetic patients lose pancreatic islet beta cells. Patients with vitiligo should also be followed closely for the development of thyroid diseases. So far, there is no specific treatment for vitiligo.

MS

Original posting 7 Dec 97

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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