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Quality of life in vitiligo patients

Authors


  • Dr Viktoria Eleftheriadou is employed as part of an independent research program commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research funding scheme (RP-PG-0407-10177). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, or the Department of Health.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Natasa Teovska Mitrevska, MD, PhD, MPH, Specialist of Dermatology, Re-Medika general hospital-Dermatology department, Skopje 1000, Macedonia, or email: nteovska@remedika.com.mk.

Abstract

Quality of life is defined by the World Health Organization as “individuals’ perceptions of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns.” Often overlooked in the past, it is nowadays considered, in a more holistic view of medicine, a decisive factor to understand the impact of diseases and improve the quality of medical care. Such evaluation is particularly relevant for dermatological diseases, because visibility of the lesions can significantly affect self-esteem and social relationships. Vitiligo represents an emblematic case: often disfiguring and located in visible areas, confused in the past (and, in many world regions, even in the present) with leprosy, often perceived by physicians as a harmless, purely cosmetic problem, it significantly decreases the quality of life of affected persons. After a brief overview on definition, usefulness and methods for the assessment of quality of life, the authors examine the peculiarities of its relationship with skin diseases, particularly vitiligo. The state of the art of knowledge and research in this field is presented, together with data showing usefulness and positive results of a multidisciplinary approach, which adequately keeps into account perceived quality of life, on patient's satisfaction, adherence to treatment protocols and, ultimately, better outcome of treatments. In this context, an important role can be played by support communities, groups of patients and dedicated associations and societies, connected through modern communication networks like the Internet.

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