“Vitiligo is a systemic disease with multiple comorbidities,” Dr. Iltefat Hamzavi from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Mich., told Reuters Health by email. “The number of patients with neurologic diseases and inflammatory disease was much higher than we anticipated.”
Vitiligo, with an estimated prevalence ranging from 0.5% to 1%, is characterized by selective loss of melanocytes and patchy depigmentation of the skin and mucous membranes. Autoimmunity is thought to play a role in its pathogenesis.
Based on a manual chart review involving nearly 1,100 patients with vitiligo, Dr. Hamzavi and colleagues found that 19.8% had at least one comorbid autoimmune disease, and 2.8% had more than one, they report in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, online Oct. 27.