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 scoliosis? Scoliosis is a sideways curve of the spine. Children and teens with scoliosis have an abnormal S-shaped or C-shaped curve of the spine. The curve can happen on either side of the spine and in different places in the spine. With treatment, observation, and follow-up with the doctor, most children and teens with scoliosis have normal, active lives.
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 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 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 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 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 psoriasis? Psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting) disease in which the immune system works too much, causing patches of skin to become scaly and inflamed. Most often, psoriasis affects the: Scalp. Elbows. Knees. The symptoms of psoriasis can sometimes go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months followed by times when they subside (or go into remission). If you have psoriasis, you may have a higher risk of getting other serious conditions, including: Psoriatic arthritis. Heart attack or stroke. Mental health problems, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.
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