Who is affected by vitiligo?
About 1 to 2 percent of the world's population, or from 50 to 100 million people, have vitiligo. In the United States, 2 to 5 million people have the disorder. Ninety-five percent of people who have vitiligo develop it before their 40th birthday, most between the ages of 10 and 30. The disorder affects all races, ethnicities and both sexes equally, which suggests that it truly is a human problem. Even on remote islands where the population is completely homogenous, we see instances of vitiligo.
People with certain autoimmune disorders do seem to be more likely to develop vitiligo, although the opposite is not true. These autoimmune disorders include hyperthyroidism (an overactive or underactive thyroid gland), adrenocortical insufficiency (the adrenal gland does not produce enough of the hormone called corticosteroid) , alopecia areata (patches of baldness), and pernicious anemia (a low level of red blood cells caused by failure of the body to absorb vitamin B12).