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My daughter is having vitiligo on her lip. Some of the medical literature I have read states that the persons with vitiligo may also have some endocrine related disorders like diabetes mellitus. And in some other documents, some medical professionals claim that this immunodeficiency may be related to yeast overgrowth. How much is this valid? Are there any studies that any one of you aware of in this field?

Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes sometimes has associations with a long list of other disorders, including vitiligo (white skin patches without any pigmentation). So, sometimes people with Type 1 diabetes develop vitiligo, and sometimes people with vitiligo develop Type 1 diabetes.

And, any family member related to someone with either of these conditions might also develop either (or both) Type 1 diabetes or vitiligo.

And, the patient with either one of these (or any of their family, with or without one or both of these two), might eventually develop other rare conditions, including:

  • Addison's disease (adrenal gland failure),
  • thyroiditis (thyroid gland inflammation with overactivity or failure),
  • premature menopause in women,
  • pernicious anemia (a rare form of anemia due to problems with absorbing vitamin B12),
  • parathyroid gland failure (with low levels of calcium and parathyroid hormone),
  • myasthenia gravis with thymus gland failure.
  • hair loss (total baldness).
  • and others.

This clustering of several disorders is related to an immune problem. These families have inherited a tendency to develop antibodies to various endocrine organs, and other tissues of the body that aren't usually thought of as being endocrine organs (like the skin or the stomach).

When it shows up, the group of disorders is called by several names, such as Familial Autoimmune Endocrine Failure Syndrome.

(Yeast overgrowth is another issue entirely. It's not related to the Familial Autoimmune Endocrine Failure Syndrome.)

Original posting 20 Jan 96


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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