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 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 atopic dermatitis? Atopic dermatitis, often called eczema, is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that causes the skin to become inflamed and irritated, making it extremely itchy. Scratching leads to: Redness. Swelling. Cracking. “Weeping” clear fluid. Crusting. Scaling. In most cases, there are times when the disease is worse, called flares, followed by times when the skin improves or clears up entirely, called remissions. Atopic dermatitis is a common condition, and anyone can get the disease. However, it usually begins in childhood. Atopic dermatitis cannot be spread from person to person. No one knows what causes atopic dermatitis. Depending on
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 Marfan syndrome? Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the body’s ability to make healthy connective tissue, which supports the bones, muscles, organs, and tissues in your body. The condition can affect different areas of the body, including: Bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. Organs, such as the heart and lungs. Skin.
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 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 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.
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