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 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 rosacea? Rosacea (ro-ZAY-she-ah) is a long-term skin condition that causes reddened skin and a rash, usually on the nose and cheeks. It may also cause eye problems.
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 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.