The Rheumatology Lab Glossary

  • AbductionThe movement of a limb or other part away from the midline of the body, or from another part.
  • ACL Injury - Anterior Cruciate Ligament TearAn ACL injury is a tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate (KROO-she-ate) ligament (ACL) — one of the strong bands of tissue that help connect your thigh bone (femur) to your shinbone (tibia). Learn more.  
  • AdductionThe movement of a limb or other part toward the midline of the body or toward another part.
  • Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome (AMPS)is an umbrella term for non-inflammatory musculoskeletal pain. AMPS is most commonly seen in childhood and adolescence, and most commonly affects pre-adolescent and adolescent girls, with an average age ranging from 11.5 to 15 years. Learn more. 
  • AnalgesicAnalgesics are a class of medications designed specifically to relieve pain. They include acetaminophen (Tylenol), which is available over the counter (OTC) or by prescription when combined with another drug, and opioids (narcotics), which are only available by prescription. Learn more.  
  • AnemiaAnemia is a condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body's tissues. Learn more.  
  • AngiogenesisThe process in which new vessels are made from existing vessels.
  • Anti-InflammatoryAnti-inflammatory is the property of a substance or treatment that reduces inflammation or swelling. Learn more.  
  • AntibodyAntibodies are proteins that protect you when an unwanted substance enters your body. Produced by your immune system, antibodies bind to these unwanted substances in order to eliminate them from your system. Learn more.  
  • ArthritisArthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints. Learn more.  
  • Autoimmune DiseaseAny disorder in which loss of function or destruction of normal tissue arises from humoral or cellular immune responses to the body’s own tissue constituents. Learn more.  
  • Behçet’s DiseaseA rare illness that affects the body’s blood vessels. People with this disease often get painful sores in their mouth and genital areas. It can also cause inflammation in other parts of the body, such as the blood vessels, joints, intestines, skin, lungs, and eyes. Learn more.
  • BiomarkerA measurable substance found in blood, other body fluids, or tissues that is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or of a condition or disease. A biomarker may be used to see how well the body responds to a treatment for a disease or condition. Learn more.
  • Blood ClotA blood clot is mass of blood that forms when platelets, proteins, and cells in the blood stick together. Learn more.  
  • Blood ThinnerBlood thinners are medicines that prevent blood clots from forming. They do not break up clots that you already have. Learn more.
  • CalcificationA process in which calcium builds up in body tissue, causing the tissue to harden. Learn more.  
  • Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition (CPPD)Also known as “pseudogout” is a type of arthritis. In CPPD, calcium pyrophosphate (CPP) crystals form in the blood and settle in joint Crystal deposits trigger an inflammatory attack in the joint. Learn more.
  • Carpal Tunnel SyndromeCarpal tunnel syndrome is a common nerve disorder that may affect hand strength and sensation, causing reduced function. Learn more.
  • CAT ScanA computerized tomography (CT) scan combines a series of X-ray images taken from different angles around your body and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images (slices) of the bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside your body. Learn more.  
  • Central Nervous SystemThe central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and spinal cord. This body system is responsible for integrating and coordinating the activities of the entire body. Learn more.
  • ChronicChronic diseases are defined broadly as conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both. Learn more.
  • Clinical LaboratoryHealthcare facilities providing a wide range of laboratory procedures which aid the physicians in carrying out the diagnosis, treatment, and management of patients. Learn more.
  • Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC)A specialized research professional working with and under the direction of the clinical Principal Investigator (PI). While the Principal Investigator is primarily responsible for the overall design, conduct, and management of the clinical trial, the CRC supports, facilitates and coordinates the daily clinical trial activities and plays a critical role in the conduct of the study. Learn more.
  • Clinical ResearcherA health professional who works directly with patients, or uses data from patients, to do research on health and disease and to develop new treatments. They may also do research on how healthcare practices affect health and disease. Learn more.
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)A blood test used to evaluate your overall health and detect a wide range of disorders, including anemia, infection and leukemia. Learn more.
  • CorticosteroidMan-made drugs that closely resemble cortisol, a hormone that the adrenal glands produce naturally. They are used to control inflammation of the joints and organs. Learn more.
  • CortisoneA natural steroid hormone produced in the adrenal gland. It can also be made in the laboratory. Cortisone reduces swelling and can suppress immune responses. Learn more.
  • CreatinineCreatinine is a waste product that comes from the normal wear and tear on muscles of the body. Learn more.
  • Degenerative (Diseases)A disease in which the function or structure of the affected tissues or organs changes for the worse over time. Learn more.
  • DermatomycosesInfections of the skin, hair and nails, which are caused in most cases by dermatophytes, and in rarer cases by yeasts and molds. Fungal infections of the skin are the most frequently occurring infectious diseases. Learn more.  
  • Dermatomyositis (Juvenile)"A disease in which a child’s immune system primarily attacks the skin and muscles or blood vessels. JDM often affects large muscles around the neck, shoulders, and hips, causing primarily weakness. Children with JDM may struggle to do basic movements such as climbing stairs, getting in and out of a car or chair, or brushing their hair." Learn more.
  • EffusionAn abnormal collection of fluid in hollow spaces or between tissues of the body. For example, a pleural effusion is a collection of fluid between the two layers of membrane covering the lungs. Learn more.
  • EndocrinologyThe study of hormones. Learn more.
  • FibromyalgiaSyndrome of chronic pain of musculoskeletal origin but uncertain cause. Is accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. Learn more.
  • Giant Cell ArteritisA type of vasculitis, a group of diseases whose main feature is inflammation of blood vessels. In GCA, the vessels most often involved are the arteries of the scalp and head, especially the arteries over the temples, which is why another term for GCA is “temporal arteritis.” Learn more.
  • GoutA form of arthritis caused by too much uric acid build-up in your body. Gout often causes sudden pain and swelling in one joint, often the big toe or other joints in the feet. Uric acid is a natural substance that’s in your blood. Your kidneys filter uric acid, but if levels get too high or the kidneys can’t remove enough of it, urate crystals can form and settle into a joint, causing pain, swelling, and redness. Learn more.
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (Wegener's)A rare blood vessel disease. It’s a type of vasculitis, or inflammation of the blood vessels, specifically small- and medium-sized blood vessels causing an inability of blood to flow properly and deliver oxygen to cells around the body. Granuloma, or cellular inflammation, occurs, causing damage in the sinuses, lungs, and kidneys, but may also affect eyes, ears, skin, nerves, joints and other organs. Learn more.
  • Heart DiseaseHeart disease describes a range of conditions that affect the heart. Learn more.
  • HematologyThe study of blood and blood disorders. Hematologists and hematopathologists are highly trained healthcare providers who specialize in diseases of the blood and blood components. Hematological tests can help diagnose anemia, infection, hemophilia, blood-clotting disorders, and leukemia. Learn more.
  • HypertensionHigh blood pressure.
  • HypoxemiaDecreased below normal levels of oxygen in inspired gases, arterial blood, or tissue, short of anoxia. Learn more.
  • IgG4-Related Disease (IgG4-RD)An immune-mediated condition, meaning that it involves the occurrence of disease in organs as the result of an abnormally regulated immune system. The classic IgG4-RD patient is a middle-aged to elderly individual – more likely to be male than female. In rare cases, the disease also affects children. Some patients with IgG4-RD have disease in only one organ. Others, however, have diseases that affect multiple organs at the same time. Learn more.
  • InflammationInflammation is a normal part of the body’s defense to injury or infection, and, in this way, it is beneficial. But inflammation is damaging when it occurs in healthy tissues or lasts too long. Known as chronic inflammation, it may persist for months or years. Learn more.
  • Inflammatory MyopathiesAutoimmune diseases where the body’s immune system attacks its own muscles by mistake. Inflammatory myopathies cause muscle weakness, usually in the neck, shoulders, and hips. Learn more.
  • InjectionUse of a syringe and needle to push fluids or drugs into the body; often called a "shot."
  • InvestigatorIn research, a person who is involved in running a clinical trial or research study. The investigator may help prepare and carry out the protocol (plan) for the study, monitor the safety of the study, collect and analyze the data, and report the results of the study. Learn more.
  • Kawasaki Disease (KD)A childhood illness that causes vasculitis (inflamed blood vessels). The exact cause of KD is unknown, but it is suspected that it may be triggered by an infection. It may also occur in children who have a genetic predisposition to the disease. KD is not contagious. Learn more.
  • LigamentLigaments are bands of tissue that help connect bones, joints and organs and hold them in place.
  • Localized Scleroderma (Juvenile)"An autoimmune condition that causes hardening and inflammation of the skin and muscles in one part of the body. The inflammation triggers connective tissue cells to produce too much collagen, a fibrous protein found in many tissues." Learn more.
  • LupusSystemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic disease that causes systemic inflammation which affects multiple organs. SLE often starts in females during their fertility age, although it can sometimes start during childhood. Learn more.
  • LupusLupus is a chronic (long-term) disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of your body. It’s an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system — the body system that usually fights infections — attacks healthy tissue instead. Learn more.
  • Lyme DiseaseAn infection caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Deer ticks and Western blacklegged ticks can bite humans and pass on the infection. Lyme disease is most common in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic, Upper Midwest, Northern California, and Pacific-Northwest. Learn more.
  • Metabolic MyopathiesRare, genetic disorders that cause muscle problems. “Metabolic” refers to chemical reactions that provide necessary energy and nutrients for healthy muscle growth. Metabolic myopathies are inherited and tend to run in families. Learn more.
  • MRIMagnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique that uses a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues in your body. Learn more.
  • Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)Caused by an abnormal immune system’s response to COVID-19 exposure. After exposure to COVID-19, the immune system in a small percentage of children can sometimes produce an exaggerated response to virus. This abnormal inflammatory response results in the features of the disease and may cause injury to one or more organs. Learn more.
  • ObesityWeight that is higher than what is considered healthy for a given height is described as overweight or obesity.
  • Occupational TherapyTherapeutic use of self-care, work, and recreational activities to increase independent function, enhance development, and prevent disability. Learn more.
  • OphthalmologistAn ophthalmologist is an eye care specialist. Unlike optometrists and opticians, ophthalmologists are doctors of medicine (MD) or doctors of osteopathy (DO) who have specific training and experience diagnosing and treating eye and vision conditions. Ophthalmologists are qualified to provide comprehensive eye care including medical and surgical eye care.
  • OrthopedicsOrthopedics, or orthopedic services, aim at the treatment of the musculoskeletal system. This includes your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
  • OsteoarthritisOsteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint disease that most often affects middle age to elderly people. It is commonly referred to as "wear and tear" arthritis, but OA is a disease of the entire joint, involving the cartilage, joint lining, ligaments, and bone. Learn more.  
  • OsteonecrosisA painful condition that involves the death of bone cells due to decreased blood flow. It is also called avascular necrosis (AVN) or aseptic necrosis. It is a painful condition most commonly occurring in the hips or knees and is often more symptomatic with any weight-bearing activities, such as walking. Learn more.
  • OsteonecrosisDisease caused by reduced blood flow to bones in the joints. The lack of blood causes the bone to break down faster than the body can make enough new bone. The bone starts to die and may break down. Learn more.
  • OsteoporosisReduction in the quantity of bone or atrophy of skeletal tissue; an age-related disorder characterized by decreased bone mass and increased susceptibility to fractures. Learn more.
  • Paget's Disease of BonePaget’s disease of bone is an uncommon, chronic condition where bone rebuilds at a faster than normal rate. Normally as we age, bone rebuilds in a slow and controlled process. In Paget’s disease, rapid and uncontrolled bone repair leads to bones that are too soft or enlarged. Learn more.
  • Physical TherapyPhysical therapy, also known as physiotherapy, may include certain exercises, massages and treatments based on physical stimuli (e.g. heat, cold, electrical currents or ultrasound). The aim of physical therapy is to relieve pain, help you move better or strengthen weakened muscles. Learn more.
  • Physician AssistantEducated and trained healthcare professionals, PAs are dedicated to expanding access to care and transforming health and wellness through patient-centered, team-based medical practice.
  • Polymyalgia RheumaticaPolymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a common condition that involves widespread aching and stiffness. It often affects the upper arms, neck, lower back, and thighs. Pain and stiffness usually are worse in the mornings. PMR doesn’t cause joint swelling, so it can be hard to spot. Learn more.
  • PrednisoneA medication used to  to control inflammation of the joints and organs. It is often used to treat a variety of inflammatory conditions, including redness, swelling and pain. Learn more.
  • Psoriatic ArthritisPsoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune condition characterized by inflamed joints. Psoriatic arthritis often, but not always, occurs in people who also have psoriasis, an autoimmune skin condition that results in scaly, red itchy patches. Learn more.
  • Raynaud's PhenomenonRaynaud’s Phenomenon (RP) results when there is a decrease in blood flow to the fingers and toes when someone is exposed to cold weather or stress, due to an exaggerated constriction in blood vessels. RP can also affect your ears, nose, and even nipples. The fingers or toes typically change color, and this can cause numbness, tingling, and pain. These symptoms occur intermittently and tend to resolve spontaneously on rewarming. Learn more.
  • Reactive ArthritisReactive arthritis is an inflammatory disease that occurs in reaction to infections by certain bacteria particularly involving the genitourinary or gastrointestinal system. The most common infections include the sexually transmitted infection Chlamydia trachomatis, and bowel infections like Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella and Yersinia. Learn more.
  • Red Blood CellsA type of blood cell that is made in the bone marrow and found in the blood. Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Learn more.
  • Rheumatic DiseaseRheumatic disease is an umbrella term that refers to arthritis and several other conditions that affect the joints, tendons, muscle, ligaments, bones, and muscles (arthritis refers to disorders that mainly affect the joints). Learn more.  
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)The most common autoimmune type of arthritis. In RA, your body’s immune system begins to react against its own tissues, causing significant inflammation in your joints and various other organs. This can cause joint pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased flexibility of the joints. Learn more.
  • SclerodermaA rare, chronic autoimmune disease that affects skin and internal organs. Scleroderma results from the immune system causing inflammation and tissues changes. It often leads to skin tightening and thickening, and sometimes can affect joints, muscles, heart, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels or intestines. Learn more.
  • SclerodermaScleroderma is a rare, chronic autoimmune disease that affects skin and internal organs. Scleroderma results from the immune system causing inflammation and tissues changes. It often leads to skin tightening and thickening, and sometimes can affect joints, muscles, heart, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels or intestines. Learn more.
  • Sjögren's SyndromeSjögren’s syndrome is a chronic, autoimmune disease. It can occur alone or with other autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or lupus. Sjögren’s syndrome presents with dry eyes and dry mouth. Inflammation of the tear ducts and saliva glands cause dryness and irritation. Learn more.
  • SpondyloarthritisSpondyloarthritis, or spondyloarthropathy, is an inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine. The main symptom in most patients is low back pain. This occurs most often in axial spondyloarthritis. Learn more.
  • StrokeOccurs when something blocks blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die.
  • SynovitisThe synovium is the connective tissue that lines the inside of the joint capsule. When the synovium becomes swollen (inflamed) it’s called Synovitis (or synovial inflammation). Learn more.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)A chronic disease that causes systemic inflammation which affects multiple organs. Learn more.
  • Takayasu’s ArteritisTakayasu’s arteritis (TAK), is a rare form of vasculitis disease involving inflammation in the walls of the largest arteries in the body: the aorta and its main branches. Inflammation leads to narrowing of the arteries, and this can reduce blood flow to many parts of the body. Learn more.
  • TelehealthTelehealth — sometimes called telemedicine — lets your healthcare provider care for you without an in-person office visit.  Telehealth is done primarily online with internet access on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Learn more.
  • Tendinitis (Bursitis)Tendinitis and bursitis are inflammation or breakdown of the soft tissue around muscles and bones. They often affect the shoulders, wrist, neck, hips, knees, and ankles. Learn more.
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Associated Periodic Syndrome (TRAPS) (Juvenile)"Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS) is a rare, genetic disorder in children. It is caused by a defective gene mutation that may be inherited from one parent leading to increased levels of inflammation throughout the body." Learn more.
  • VasculitisVasculitis is a group of rare diseases that cause inflammation of small, medium and large blood vessels. Vasculitis causes poor blood flow to organ tissues such as the lungs, kidneys, skin, eyes, or nerves. Learn more.
  • White Blood CellsA type of blood cell that is made in the bone marrow and found in the blood and lymph tissue. White blood cells are part of the body's immune system. They help the body fight infection and other diseases. Learn more.