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 osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. This increases your risk of broken bones (fractures). Osteoporosis is a “silent” disease because you may not have symptoms. You may not even know you have the disease until you break a bone. Breaks can occur in any bone but happen most often in: Hip bones. Vertebrae in the spine. Wrist. You can take steps to help prevent osteoporosis and broken bones by: Doing weight-bearing exercises, such as walking or dancing, and lifting weights. Not drinking too much alcohol. Quitting smoking, or not starting if
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 epidermolysis bullosa? Epidermolysis bullosa is a group of rare diseases that cause fragile skin that leads to blisters and tearing. Tears, sores, and blisters in the skin happen when something rubs or bumps the skin. They can appear anywhere on the body. In severe cases, blisters may also develop inside the body. The symptoms of the disease usually begin at birth or during infancy and range from mild to severe.
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 scleroderma? Scleroderma is an autoimmune connective tissue and rheumatic disease that causes inflammation in the skin and other areas of the body. This inflammation leads to patches of tight, hard skin. Scleroderma involves many systems in your body. A connective tissue disease is one that affects tissues such as skin, tendons, and cartilage. There are two major types of scleroderma: Localized scleroderma only affects the skin and the structures directly under the skin. Systemic scleroderma, also called systemic sclerosis, affects many systems in the body. This is the more serious type of scleroderma and can damage your blood
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 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
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.