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 reactive arthritis? Reactive arthritis happens when an infection causes joint pain and swelling. A bacterial infection in the digestive or urinary tract or the genitals usually triggers the condition, but arthritis symptoms typically do not start until a few weeks after you have recovered from the infection. The most common features of reactive arthritis are inflammation of the joints (especially the knees and ankles), eyes, and urinary tract, but not everyone gets all three, or they might not happen at the same time.
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 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 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 autoimmune diseases? Autoimmune 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. These diseases can affect almost any part of the body.
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 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