Top 10 Rare Diseases
Graphical representation of multiple strands of DNA

Most rare diseases are genetic and are found in a person's DNA.

©iStockphoto.com/Kyu Oh

Everyone has heard of cancer or HIV, but what about Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency? Or even Dercum’s disease?

Aside from the more common ailments that may affect us or our loved ones, and garner the attention of the press or charities, there are a lot of other ways out there to get sick and die. Maybe it's a virus, or it could be a genetic disorder. In any event, they all have one thing in common: they're no fun.

We'll look at the top 10 rare diseases, some of which you may never have heard of -- and others which you hope you never will again.

Disease descriptions courtesy of the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). To browse their extensive Rare Disease Database - including contact information for related organizations - visit their website at www.rarediseases.org.