Black woman, 43, with vitiligo, claims her skin condition has partially improved after two strokes
By Emily Gushue, health correspondent for Dailymail.Com
17:56 23 January 2024, updated 17:56 23 January 2024
- Eumiko Johnson, 43, claims her skin changed color after two hits
- Johnson suffers from vitiligo, an autoimmune disease that causes skin to lose color
- Read more: The first home medication for vitiligo has been approved by the FDA
A Texas woman with vitiligo claims that two strokes caused her skin to change color and return to its normal color.
Eomiko Johnson, 43, was diagnosed with vitiligo at the age of 25, an autoimmune disease that causes skin to lose color in patches.
Ms. Johnson, who is black, estimates that nearly 60 percent of her body has turned white as a result of her condition.
But after two strokes, her vitiligo symptoms began to decline, which she believes may be related to the medications she was prescribed after the strokes.
Vitiligo is a chronic disorder that develops when skin cells that produce pigment are destroyed, causing a person’s skin to turn milky white.
There is currently no cure for this condition, although some treatments may help restore lost skin tone.
Skin color usually begins to change first around the hands, face, genitals, or areas around body openings – such as the mouth.
People with vitiligo may also notice that the hair on the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, or beard turns white or gray prematurely.
This condition can affect people of all skin types, although it is usually more noticeable in people with black or brown skin.
Experts estimate that 2.8 million Americans have vitiligo and that the condition affects 70 million people worldwide.
“One day I woke up and I had a spot under my eye and a spot under my arm,” Ms. Johnson said. “I went to see my primary care doctor who recommended a dermatologist, and I was diagnosed with vitiligo after that visit.”
Her condition gradually worsened, causing white spots to appear on her body, and one morning in 2020, she woke up with difficulty speaking and blurry vision.
“I told my husband I wasn’t feeling well and I thought I needed to go to the hospital,” she said.
“They found out I was having a stroke.”
Three years later, she had another stroke that caused her to collapse while walking.
“This meant I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t talk and I lost all my motor skills. I also had to undergo physical therapy to regain my strength and function,” she said.
“I went through six weeks of physical therapy.”
Tests showed Ms Johnson had a blood clotting disorder, which causes clots to form easily throughout the body. This can increase the risk of stroke, which occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is blocked.
Ms Johnson claims that since her strokes, some of her pigmentation – the amount of melanin in the skin, which determines colour – has returned to what it was before the onset of vitiligo.
“Some of my pigmentation has come back,” she said. “I was shocked when I saw the repigmentation on my nose.”
Ms. Johnson noted that most of the changes she saw were in her nose and forehead.
She believes the combination of seven medications she takes to reduce the risk of strokes may lead to repigmentation.
These often include antiplatelet medications such as aspirin, which prevent platelets — the part of the blood that helps clot — from clumping together and forming clots. Anticoagulants are also a popular option to reduce the risk of clots.
Researchers have suggested that certain medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, malaria prevention drugs, and antipsychotics can lead to skin discoloration.
However, discoloration due to medications such as blood thinners may be due to bruising, notes the British Heart Foundation.
However, the stroke itself can lead to changes in skin color.
The American Stroke Association states that about 30 to 40 percent of stroke survivors experience complications, including head, muscle, joint, shoulder and nerve pain.
The agency said that one of the signs of pain after a stroke is changes in skin color, along with numbness, tingling, burning, pain, and decreased range of motion.
This can also lead to changes in skin texture.
“Over time, insufficient access of oxygen and nutrients can change the texture of the skin in the affected limb,” says the American Stroke Association.
“In some cases, it becomes shiny and fluffy, in others thick and flaky. Avoiding contact with or washing sore skin contributes to this buildup.
Johnson isn’t sure if her skin will continue to change color as she continues to take stroke-preventing medications. However, she started modeling and became comfortable in her own skin.
“If all the pigmentation came back, it wouldn’t bother me, but I’ve been living with vitiligo for over 20 years and it would be confusing for my family,” she said.
“But because it’s me either way.” I’m still pretty, so it won’t bother me.
“I absolutely love the condition of my skin. I’m beautiful and unique in my own way, and I don’t really care what people think.
“I own who I am and live life my way.”