What is alopecia areata? Alopecia areata is a disease that causes hair loss. In alopecia areata, the immune system attacks the structures in skin that form hair (hair follicles). Alopecia areata usually affects the head and face, though hair can be lost from any part of the body. Hair typically falls out in small, round patches about the size of a quarter. In some cases, hair loss is more extensive.
What is Raynaud’s phenomenon? Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition that causes the blood vessels in the hands and feet to narrow, decreasing blood flow. When this happens, parts of the body—usually the fingers and toes—become cold and numb, and change color (usually, to white or blue). An attack usually happens from exposure to cold or stress.
What is spinal stenosis? Spinal stenosis happens when the spaces in the spine narrow and create pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that comes out of the base of the brain and runs down the center of the spine. The nerve roots branch out from the cord. In spinal stenosis, the narrowing usually occurs over time.
What is vitiligo? Vitiligo is a chronic (long-lasting) disorder that causes areas of skin to lose color. When skin cells that make color are attacked and destroyed, the skin turns a milky-white color. No one knows what causes vitiligo, but it may be an autoimmune disease. In people with autoimmune diseases, the immune cells attack the body’s own healthy tissues by mistake, instead of viruses or bacteria. A person with vitiligo sometimes may have family members who also have the disease. There is no cure for vitiligo, but treatment may help skin tone appear more even.
What is psoriasis? Psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting) disease in which the immune system works too much, causing patches of skin to become scaly and inflamed. Most often, psoriasis affects the: Scalp. Elbows. Knees. The symptoms of psoriasis can sometimes go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months followed by times when they subside (or go into remission). If you have psoriasis, you may have a higher risk of getting other serious conditions, including: Psoriatic arthritis. Heart attack or stroke. Mental health problems, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.
What are autoinflammatory diseases? Autoinflammatory diseases refer to problems with the immune system, which usually fights off viruses, bacteria, and infection. The problem causes your immune cells to attack your body by mistake. This can cause swelling that produces fever, rash, joint swelling, or serious buildup of a blood protein in your organs.