List of incurable diseases

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This is an incomplete list of incurable diseases. It includes both physical and mental diseases.


  • Allergic diseases – Allergies, or allergic diseases, are conditions in which histamines are released. Types of allergy include food allergies (not to be confused with food intolerances or food-poisoning), atopic dermatitis, allergic, anaphylaxis, and allergic rhinitis (also known as hay fever, which is the most common), for example. No cure exists for allergies, but several treatments exist such as antihistamines, corticosteroids, avoiding the allergen, and allergen immunotherapy (also known as desensitization.)[1]
  • Asthma – Asthma is a condition that makes the bronchial tubes more susceptible to inflammation and irritation. There is no way to cure it, but there are ways to treat it so the person is not as likely to have an asthmatic episode.[2]
  • Addiction – Some, such as proponents of twelve step programs and most reputable medical associations such as the American Medical Association, consider addiction to be an incurable and progressive brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences and requiring life-long treatment.
  • Adrenocortical carcinoma – A form of cancer that originates in the cortex of the adrenal gland.[3][4]
  • Alzheimer's disease – Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to waste away (degenerate) and die. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia — a continuous decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills that disrupts a person's ability to function independently.[5]
  • Alopecia – There is no proper cure yet but use of DHT inhibitors like Minoxidil & Dutasteride can help lessen hair loss.[6][7]
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis – Also known as Ankylosing Spondyloarthritis, Bechterew syndrome, Marie Strumpell disease spondylitis.[8][9]
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – Also known as Motor Neuron Disease or Lou Gehrig's Disease. Although there exists some treatments to improve the quality of and extend life, it is fatal within 3–5 years after onset.[10][11]
  • Arthritis – Arthritis is a condition where one feels joint pain.[12][13]
  • Ataxia – Is a neurological sign consisting of lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements that includes gait abnormality. Ataxia is a non-specific clinical manifestation implying dysfunction of the parts of the nervous system that coordinate movement, such as the cerebellum.[14]


  • Bipolar Disorder – Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness or manic depression) is a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.[15][16][17]
  • Bipolar II Disorder – Bipolar II disorder is a bipolar spectrum disorder characterized by at least one episode of hypomania and at least one episode of major depression. Diagnosis for bipolar II disorder requires that the individual must never have experienced a full manic episode. Otherwise, one manic episode meets the criteria for bipolar I disorder.[18][19]


  • Cancer – Metastatic cancer is typically incurable, although treatment can extend a patient's life.
  • Cerebral amyloid angiopathy – A disease in the body's blood vessels that causes a buildup of a protein that can cause the blood vessels in the brain to burst, resulting in headaches. It is commonly brought on by dementia, but can occur in a person who never had dementia.[20]
  • Chronic Kidney Disease – A progressive kidney disease in which kidney's functioning reduces as the time passes. Intensity of progression of CKD may depend from patient to patient. CKD is divided into 5 stages, 5th stage being total failure and need dialysis or kidney replacement. New methods are in trial to live after failing of kidney like kidney implants but they are mere remedies not cure of the problem. Even after kidney replacement, life expectancy of the patient reduces and have to be quite curtailed about his diets.[21][22]
  • Common cold – The common cold is a disease that mutates too frequently for a vaccine or cure to be created and is rarely fatal.[23][24]
  • Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease – This is a neurodegenerative disease. There is no treatment or cure for this disease, although there has been extensive efforts done to reduce the chance of being infected with it. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is a prion, there are currently no cure for this classification of disease and are just described as a rogue indestructible protein.[25]
  • Crohn's disease – This is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the intestinal tract. It cannot be cured, but can be managed with medications and surgery.[26]
  • Coeliac disease – A chronic multiple-organ autoimmune disorder primarily affecting the small intestine caused by the ingestion of gluten, that appears in genetically predisposed people of all ages. "Non-classic" presentation is the most common type, especially in older children (over 2 years old), adolescents, and adults. It is characterized by mild, fluctuating or even apparently absent gastrointestinal symptoms and a wide spectrum of non-intestinal manifestations that can involve any organ of the body, frequent negativity of serological markers, and minor mucosal lesions, without atrophy of the intestinal villi. Most cases remain unrecognized and undiagnosed. Untreated, it can cause many health complications and associated disorders, among which an increased risk of several types of cancer and greater mortality are included. Currently there is no cure and the only known effective treatment is a strict lifelong gluten-free diet, which leads to recovery of the intestinal mucosa, improves symptoms and reduces risk of developing complications in most people.(TG2)[27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35]
  • Cystic fibrosis – A genetic disorder, in which the lungs and the digestive system get clogged with mucus.[36][37][38][39]
  • Corneal ulcer – Is an infective condition of the cornea involving disruption of its epithelial layer with involvement of the corneal stroma. Common in tropic and agrarian societies, children in developing countries afflicted by Vitamin A deficiency are at high risk for corneal ulcer and may become permanently blind in both eyes.[40][41]


  • Dengue – This is a mosquito-borne viral disease occurring in tropical and subtropical areas. It is self-limiting until the occurrence of hemorrhage. Severe conditions like unusual hemorrhage, hypovolemia later leading to shock. WHO states there is no specific treatment for dengue.
  • Depression – This is a common mental illness, with treatment options but no specific cure. Depression can be quite harmful to one's mental and physical wellbeing, and can even lead to suicide.
  • Desmoplastic small-round-cell tumor – A rare cancer that affects children, adolescents, and young adults with less than 200 reported cases worldwide as of 2011. Although the disease can be controlled by surgical removal, some tumors are not able to be surgically removed and treatment is not standardized.[42]
  • Diabetes – Diabetes is a common disorder that impairs the body's ability to produce and use insulin. There is no cure for it, but there are effective treatment plans to help control it.[43][44]
  • Dupuytren's disease – [also called Dupuytren's disease, Morbus Dupuytren, Viking disease, and Celtic hand] is a condition in which one or more fingers become permanently bent in a flexed position.[45] It usually begins as small, hard nodules just under the skin of the palm, then worsens over time until the fingers can no longer be straightened.[46] There's no cure for it . . Associated diseases: Morbus Ledderhose, frozen shoulder, Peyronie's disease.


  • Epilepsy – While epilepsy can be considered to be resolved for "individuals who had an age-dependent epilepsy syndrome but are now past the applicable age or those who have remained seizure-free for the last 10 years, with no seizure medicines for the last 5 years", those with a history of epilepsy that is now considered resolved have a greater risk of seizures than the baseline unaffected population and there is no guarantee that epileptic seizures will not return in resolved individuals.[47][Note 1]
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome – A group of inherited disorders that mostly affect the skin, joints, and blood vessels. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) affects connective tissue, primarily the skin, joints, and blood vessel walls. The most common type, Hypermobility, is characterized by extreme flexibility of the joints, frequent or recurring joint dislocations, and chronic pain and disability.[48][49]


  • Factor V Leiden – A variant (mutated form) of human factor V (one of several substances that helps blood clot), which causes an increase in blood clotting (hypercoagulability). With this mutation, the anticoagulant protein secreted (which normally inhibits the pro-clotting activity of factor V) is not able to bind normally to Factor V, leading to a hypercoagulable state, i.e., an increased tendency for the patient to form abnormal and potentially harmful blood clots. Factor V Leiden is the most common hereditary hypercoagulability disorder amongst ethnic Europeans. It is named after the Dutch city Leiden, where it was first identified in 1994 by Prof R. Bertina et al. Suspicion of factor V Leiden is the cause for any thrombotic event should be considered in any Caucasian patient below the age of 45, or in any person with a family history of venous thrombosis.[50][51]
  • Fatal familial insomnia – This is a prion disease that is inherited and causes insomnia and other symptoms. The average life span of a person who has Fatal Familial Insomnia is around 18 months after it developing.[52][53][54]
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder – (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Symptoms include low body weight, poor coordination, hyperactive behavior, difficulty with attention, poor memory, learning disabilities, speech and language delays, poor reasoning and judgment skills, sleep and sucking problems as a baby, vision or hearing problems, shorter-than-average height, small head size, abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum), and problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones.[55][56]
  • Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva – A genetic disorder characterized by soft tissue injuries healing into bone. Despite this, the bones do not have joints and limit mobility. Cutting off the bone results in explosive bone growth. It is genetic, and no known cure exists. Furthermore, there is no approved treatment for this disease.[57][58]
  • Fluoroquinolone toxicity syndrome – A multi-system syndrome that develops in some previously healthy patients that are prescribed an oral fluoroquinolone antibacterial drug.[59]
  • Fibromyalgia – A chronic condition in which the patient experiences constant pain, fatigue, and other symptoms incessantly, distributed symmetrically throughout the body in joints, muscles, and in movement. There is no known cause or cure for this condition.[60][61]


  • Gastroparesis – Also known as delayed gastric emptying, gastroparesis is a condition where the stomach does not empty properly. Although most patients require no further therapeutic management beyond prokinetic agents to manage their symptoms, outcomes from refractory gastroparesis treatments are generally poor or unpredictable.[62]
  • Genetic disorders – Most genetic diseases are incurable. There are a few government-approved gene therapies worldwide. See List of gene therapies.
  • Glioblastoma – Most frequent and most malignant human brain tumor. There are currently no curative treatments available and virtually all patients experience tumor recurrence.[63][64]
  • Graves disease – Autoimmune disorder affecting the thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism causes the body to create antibodies against thyroxine.[65][66][67]


  • Hearing loss (sensorineural) – Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is caused by damage to the structures in your inner ear or your auditory nerve. It is the cause of more than 90 percent of hearing loss in adults. Common causes of SNHL include exposure to loud noises, genetic factors, or the natural aging process.[68]
  • Hepatitis B – Infection of the liver caused by sexual transmission and body fluid contact. It can lead to scarring of liver and liver cancer.
  • Hereditary multiple exostoses – No cure exists for this autosomal dominant hereditary disorder, although surgery to remove exostoses (growths of bone) is an option when they get to an unbearable level, and medication exists to control the condition as it can cause extreme pain in bones and joints, as well as hinder and lessen the mobility of sufferers.
  • Herpes simplex – Herpes simplex is an infection caused by either the HSV-1 (most commonly expressed as oral herpes) virus or the HSV-2 virus (most commonly expressed as genital herpes). Although most oral and genital herpes infections are asymptomatic, symptoms can include recurring ulcers and blistering at the infection site. Antiviral medications are an effective suppressive therapy and can be used to prevent or shorten outbreaks, but are not a cure.[69][70][71]
  • HIV/AIDS – No cure exists for HIV/AIDS, but medication exists that can help control the symptoms of it.[72]
  • Huntington's disease – Inherited disease that causes the progressive breakdown (degeneration) of nerve cells in the brain.[73][74][75]
  • Hydrocephalus – No cure exists for this (physical)neurological disorder. At present, only a shunt helps drain the excess cerebrospinal fluid from the cranial cavity.



  • Joint pain – Joint pain may have multiple causes, and/or be associated with multiple diseases. Some have cures, others are incurable but the joint pain may be ameliorated.[87][88]


  • Leukemia – A type of cancer which affects the production and function of blood cells.[89][90][91][92]
  • Lichen planus – A disease characterized by itchy reddish-purple polygon-shaped skin lesions on the lower back, wrists, and ankles. It may also be present with a burning sensation in the mouth, and a lattice-like network of white lines near sites of erosion (Wickham striae). The cause is unknown, but it is thought to be the result of an autoimmune process with an unknown initial trigger. There is no cure, but many different medications and procedures have been used in efforts to control the symptoms.[93]
  • Lymphedema – A condition that results in swelling of the upper and lower limbs.[94][95][96][97][98]



  • Norovirus – This virus is responsible for most cases acute gastrointestinal illnesses worldwide. Although there is no vaccine or cure available, most infected individuals recover within one to three days.[109][110]
  • Naegleria fowleri – Also known as brain-eating amoeba, this is a species of the genus "Naelgleria" belonging to the phylum Percolozoa which isn't classified a true amoeba. It is found in warm bodies of water, usually hot springs, and enters the host through the nose. Even with treatment, there is a very thin chance of survival (around 5%). Symptoms may include alteration in the sense of smell, changes in sense of taste, high fever, sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, extreme headache, confusion and disorientation, sleepiness, loss of balance, hallucinations and seizures.
  • Narcolepsy – A condition characterized by an extreme tendency to fall asleep whenever in relaxing surroundings. Treatable with medication but no cure.


  • Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is a disease where increased bone weakness increases the risk of a broken bone. It is the most common reason for a broken bone among the elderly. Treatment for osteoporosis includes a good diet, exercise, and fall prevention. The most common medications used in treatment are bisphosphonates, and teriparatide.
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta – Osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, is a group of genetic disorders that mainly affect the bones, resulting in bones that break easily. Other symptoms may include a blue tinge to the whites of the eye, short height, loose joints, hearing loss, breathing problems, and problems with the teeth. Major complications may include cervical artery dissection and aortic dissection. Treatment may include care of broken bones, pain medication, physical therapy, braces or wheelchairs, and surgery.


  • Parkinson's disease – A disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement, often including tremors. Nerve cell damage in the brain causes dopamine levels to drop, leading to the symptoms of Parkinson's.
  • Paraphilia disorder – Is a disorder in which there is an "intense, atypical sexual arousal pattern" that causes distress or impairment. Although it is not believed that sexual desires can be changed, they can be managed so that an individual no longer experiences distress or impairment.[111][112]
  • Pityriasis rubra pilaris – Refers to a group of skin conditions that cause constant inflammation and scaling of the skin. People with this form of pityriasis have reddish, scaly patches that may occur everywhere on the body, or only on certain areas. Some also develop thickened skin on the underside of the hands and feet (palmoplantar keratoderma), various nail abnormalities, and/or thinning of the hair. There are several types, classified by age when symptoms begin, body areas involved, and whether other conditions are present. Treatment options are symptom relief, vary based on the symptoms and severity, and emollients or medications, oral retinoids, and/or immunosuppressants.[113]
  • Prion diseases – Prion diseases are diseases caused by prions. Those diseases affect brains, destroying neurons, and always fatal. The longest survivor has survived Mad Cow Disease (a kind of prion disease) survived for 10 years. The average person would only be able to survive with it for three months.
  • Progeria – Progeria has no cure and a very small amount of treatments. However, there is a medicine in the making that is undergoing testing and trials that may lead to a cure. The disorder usually leads to death at a young age.[114][115][116]
  • Polio – While there is a vaccine to prevent polio, there is no cure for it.[117]
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs. [1]
  • Pre-eclampsia – A multisystem progressive disorder characterized by the new onset of hypertension and proteinuria, or of hypertension and significant end-organ dysfunction with or without proteinuria, in the last half of pregnancy or postpartum. The disorder is caused by placental and maternal vascular dysfunction and always resolves after delivery. Although most affected pregnancies deliver at term or near term with good maternal and fetal outcomes, these pregnancies are at increased risk for maternal and/or fetal mortality or serious morbidity. In addition, women with preeclampsia are at increased risk for future cardiovascular disease.
  • Psoriasis – Is an autoimmune disease which affects the skin. It can be treated and controlled to some extent with medication but has no definitive cure.[118]
  • Pulmonary hypertension – A type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries of the lungs and the right side of the heart. In one form of pulmonary hypertension, tiny arteries called pulmonary arterioles and capillaries become narrowed, blocked or destroyed, making it harder for blood to flow through the lungs, and raises pressure within the lungs' arteries. As the pressure builds, the heart's right ventricle works harder to pump blood, eventually causing the heart muscle to weaken and fail. Some forms of pulmonary hypertension are serious conditions that become progressively worse and are sometimes fatal. Although some forms of pulmonary hypertension aren't curable, treatment can help lessen symptoms and improve quality of life.[119]
  • Pulmonary fibrosis – Is a fatal respiratory disease in which scars are formed in the lung tissues, leading to serious breathing problems. Scar formation, the accumulation of excess fibrous connective tissue (the process called fibrosis), leads to thickening of the walls, and causes reduced oxygen supply in the blood. As a consequence patients suffer from perpetual shortness of breath. There is no known cure for the scars and damage in the lung due to pulmonary fibrosis.
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome – (POTS) is a disorder that has OI as its most common symptom. POTS causes most of your blood to stay in the lower part of the body when you stand up. This makes your heart rate go up in order to get blood to the brain. Your heart rate can go up by 30 beats or more after standing up. Treatments can help manage condition, can last up to several years or be lifelong. Females are more likely to develop the disorder. Symptoms include dizziness, blurry vision, nausea, shakiness, throwing up, sweating profusely, brain fog. Feeling tiredness after accomplishing a simple task. Other symptoms include unusual coloring in the hands a feet, chest pain, headaches, neck pain, insomnia, feeling hot or cold, anxiousness, constipation and/or dairrhea.[120]


  • Rabies – Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain in humans and other mammals. Early symptoms can include fever and tingling at the site of exposure, followed by one or more of the following symptoms: violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, fear of water, an inability to move parts of the body, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Once symptoms appear, the result is nearly always death. The time period between contracting the disease and the start of symptoms is usually one to three months; however, the time is dependent on the distance the virus must travel along nerves to reach the central nervous system. In people who have been exposed to rabies, the rabies vaccine and sometimes rabies immunoglobulin are effective in preventing the disease if the person receives the treatment before the start of rabies symptoms. Once the patient becomes symptomatic, treatment is almost never effective and mortality is over 99%. Rabies may also inflame the spinal cord, producing transverse myelitis.
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa – An eye disease that affects your vision by darkening the retina at birth. The speed of progression depends on what variation you contract.
  • Rett syndrome – An X-linked genetic brain disorder, which typically becomes apparent after 6 to 18 months of age in females. Symptoms include problems with language, coordination, and repetitive movements. Often there is slower growth, problems walking, and a smaller head size. Complications can include seizures, scoliosis, and sleeping problems. There is no known cure for Rett syndrome, treatment is directed at improving symptoms. Anticonvulsants may be used to help with seizures, and special education, physiotherapy, and braces may also be useful.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the joints. Since Rheumatoid arthritis progresses with cumulative damage to the joints and sometimes to soft tissues and internal organs, a cure for it is an "ambitious goal with a relatively low probability of ever occurring". Remission, however, can occur in up to 75% of patients with "intense and individually tailored treatments".[121][122]


  • Schizophrenia – Many treatments are available and proven to improve the condition, however, there is no definitive cure for this mental disease.[123][124]
  • Scleroderma – A group of diseases causing hardening and tightening of skin and connective tissues.[125][126][127]
  • Scoliosis – A condition characterized by sideways curvature of the spine or back bone.[128][129]
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia – This is a genetic disorder that inhibits the person's ability to use their nervous system and is always proven to be fatal.[130]
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome – SARS is a respiratory illness that first infected people in parts of Asia, North America, and Europe in late 2002 and early 2003. SARS is caused by a type of coronavirus, which can cause mild to moderate upper respiratory illness, such as the common cold.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus – Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in many parts of the body–symptoms vary between people and may be mild to severe. Common symptoms include painful and swollen joints, fever, chest pain, hair loss, mouth ulcers, swollen lymph nodes, feeling tired, and a red rash which is most commonly on the face.[131]


  • Trigeminal neuralgia – A chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal or 5th cranial nerve, one of the most widely distributed nerves in the head. There is no true cure for the disease, but it can be treated.[132]
  • Toxoplasmosis – An illness caused due to infection by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, first discovered in 1908 in the US. Diagnosis requires a blood test or amniotic fluid test.[133][134][135][136][137]



  • Xeroderma pigmentosum – A genetic condition where decreased ability to repair DNA damage leads to severe sunburn, corneal damage, and melanomas.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Although The International League Against Epilepsy calls epilepsy a disease, there is controversy over where it is should be called a disease or a disorder. A disease, disorder, illness or condition: How to label epilepsy?, Acta Neurologica Scandinavica 2017.


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