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 ankylosing spondylitis? Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes inflammation in certain parts of the spine. Over time, this inflammation in the joints and tissues of the spine can cause stiffness. In severe cases, this may cause the bones in the spine to grow together, which can lead to a rigid spine that is difficult to bend. Many people with ankylosing spondylitis have mild episodes of back pain and stiffness that come and go. But others have severe, ongoing back pain and stiffness. Other symptoms also may develop if other areas of the body are affected
What is Sjögren’s syndrome? Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic (long-lasting) disorder that happens when the immune system attacks the glands that make moisture in the eyes, mouth, and other parts of the body. The main symptoms are dry eyes and mouth, but the disorder may affect other parts of the body. Many people with Sjogren’s syndrome say they feel tired often (fatigue). They also may have joint and muscle pain. In addition, the disease can damage the lungs, kidneys, and nervous system.
What is osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that happens when the tissues in the joint break down over time. It is the most common type of arthritis and is more common in older people. People with osteoarthritis usually have joint pain and, after rest, stiffness (inability to move easily) for a short period of time. The most commonly affected joints include the: Hands (ends of the fingers and at the base and ends of the thumbs). Knees. Hips. Neck. Lower back. Osteoarthritis affects each person differently. For some people, osteoarthritis does not affect day-to-day activities. For others, it causes
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 back pain? Back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. It might feel like a dull, constant ache or a sudden, sharp pain. Back pain can result from: An accident. A fall. Lifting something heavy. Changes that happen in the spine as you age. A disorder or medical condition. Treatment depends on the cause and symptoms of your pain. You can do things to improve your health and lower your chance of developing chronic (long-lasting) back pain.
What is systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus)? Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) is a chronic (long-lasting) autoimmune disease that can affect many parts of the body, including the: Skin. Joints. Heart. Lungs. Kidneys. Brain. Lupus happens when the immune system, which normally helps protect the body from infection and disease, attacks its own tissues. This attack causes inflammation and, in some cases, permanent tissue damage. If you have lupus, you may have times of illness (flares) and times of wellness (remission). Lupus flares can be mild to serious, and they do not follow a pattern. However, with treatment, many people with lupus
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 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 are polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis? Polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis are closely linked inflammatory disorders. Some people have one of the disorders while others develop both of them. Polymyalgia rheumatica causes muscle pain and stiffness in the shoulders, upper arms, hip area, and sometimes the neck. Giant cell arteritis causes inflammation of arteries, especially those on each side of the head, scalp, and the aorta (the large artery that carries blood from the heart) and its main branches. The main symptoms of this disorder are: Headaches. Scalp tenderness. Jaw pain. Problems with your eyes, which may