What Causes Albinism

Albinism is a kind of genetic disorder that results in no color or discolor of the skin, eyes or hair. National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH) in the USA claims that around 17,000 people suffer from albinism. Albinism has close links with eyesight problems. It is also referred as achromia, achromasia or achromatosis.

girl suffering from albinism

There are different types of albinism

  • Type 1 (no pigmentation caused by a deformity in genes which makes pigment),
  • Type 2  (defect in a gene known as the P gene results in only some pigmentation),
  • Hermansky - Pudlak Syndrome (caused by an individual gene which results in bleeding, lungs as well as bowel diseases)
  • Ocular Albinism (affects the eyes, skin and hair).

At times, albinism is referred as Vitiligo but they are two different diseases. Albinism is an inheritable disorder and an individual suffers from albinism by birth whereas Vitiligo is an auto-immune disarray in the pigment which begins only after birth.

It is difficult to identify the exact causes of Albinism. However, here are some possible causes

Insufficient production of Melanin

When melanin, a natural pigment, is produced in insufficient amount or when the production is completely absent because of genetic mutation, you suffer from Albinism. Albinism is caused by the deformity in genes that produces melanin. Actually, genes are chemicals found in the body  cells that aids in figuring a person's characteristics like skin or eye or hair color.

Heredity

Albinism is acquired from one or several defective genes from one of the parents or both. So, if you and your spouse have defective genes that is unable to supply the normal pigment amount known as melanin, then your child will certainly suffer from this disease. The risk of albinism is still there for children whose parents do not show up the disease but both have the defective genes that disturbs in melanin production.

Gene Mutation on X-Chromosome

Due to the gene mutant of X-chromosomes, albinism occurs only in men which is referred as X-linked ocular albinism. This is a type of albinism which includes vision problems. Their skin, eye and hair color is slightly light than other members in the family.

LYST gene mutation

Because of LYST gene mutation another type of albinism is caused which is referred as Chediak-Higashi Syndrome. When you suffer from this type of albinism, the hair turns brown or blonde and skin becomes silvery off white or grayish. Also, the victim of Chediak-Higashi syndrome have a deformity in white blood cells which certainly expands the risk of infections.