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 fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia is a long-lasting disorder that causes pain and tenderness throughout the body. It also can cause you to feel overly tired (fatigue) and have trouble sleeping. Doctors do not fully understand what causes fibromyalgia, but people with the disorder are more sensitive to pain.
What are growth plate injuries? The growth plate is the area of tissue near the ends of long bones in children and teens that determines what length and shape the bone will be once it is done growing. Each long bone— the thigh bone, the bones in the forearm, and the bones in the hands and fingers—has at least two growth plates, one at each end. Once your child has finished growing, the growth plates close and are replaced by solid bone. The growth plates are weak areas of your child’s growing skeleton, making it easier to injure them. Injuries
What is pachyonychia congenita? Pachyonychia congenita (PC) is a very rare genetic disorder that affects the skin and nails. Most people have thickened nails and calluses on the bottom of the feet. Painful calluses on the soles can make walking difficult. Because of the pain, some people rely on a cane, crutches, or a wheelchair to help with walking.
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.
What is osteonecrosis? Your bones are made up of living cells that need a blood supply to stay healthy. In osteonecrosis, blood flow to part of a bone is reduced. This causes death of bone tissue, and the bone can eventually break down and the joint will collapse. Osteonecrosis can happen to any bone, but most often it develops in the ends of long bones, such as the: Thigh bone. Upper arm bone. Less often, the bones of the elbows, ankles, feet, wrists, and hands are affected. When the disease involves part of a bone in a joint, it can
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 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.