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 gout? Gout is a type of arthritis that causes pain and swelling in your joints, usually as flares that last for a week or two, and then go away. Gout flares often begin in your big toe or a lower limb. Gout happens when high levels of a substance called serum urate build up in your body. When this happens, needle-shaped crystals form in and around the joint. This leads to inflammation and arthritis of the joint. However, many people with high levels of serum urate will not develop gout. With early diagnosis, treatment, and lifestyle changes, gout
What is ichthyosis? Ichthyosis is a group of skin disorders. It leads to dry, itchy skin that appears scaly, rough, and red. The symptoms can range from mild to severe. Ichthyosis can affect only the skin, but sometimes the disease can affect internal organs, too.
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 pemphigus? Pemphigus is a rare disease that causes blistering on many parts of the body, including the skin and the inside of the mouth, nose, throat, eyes, and genitals. In pemphigus, the immune system mistakenly attacks cells in the top layer of the skin.
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 rheumatoid arthritis? Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that mostly affects joints, such as the wrist, hands, feet, spine, knees, and jaw. In joints, RA causes inflammation that leads to: Pain. Swelling Stiffness. Loss of function. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder because the immune system attacks the healthy joint tissues. Normally, the immune system helps protect the body from infection and disease. RA may cause you to feel unusually tired, to have occasional fevers, and to have a loss of appetite. It also may cause other medical problems in the heart, lungs, blood, nerves, eyes
The recent observance in May of National Arthritis Awareness Month offered us a chance to reflect on a sizable component of the NIAMS mission area. Arthritis impacts the lives of nearly 60 million Americans. However, a recent conversation with David Wilson, Ph.D., director of NIH’s Tribal Health Research Office, reminded me that arthritis hits some communities harder than others.
What is arthritis? "Arthritis" literally means joint inflammation. Although joint inflammation is a symptom or sign rather than a specific diagnosis, the term arthritis is often used to refer to any disorder that affects the joints. Joints are places where two bones meet, such as your elbow or knee. There are different types of arthritis. In some diseases in which arthritis occurs, other organs, such as your eyes, heart, or skin, can also be affected. Fortunately, current treatments allow most people with arthritis to lead active and productive lives.