Looking for rheumatic disease types, treatments, and associated rheumatology definitions? From abatacept to WOMAC, learn about common terms related to arthritis and rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. Looking for information about MACRA? See MACRA terms and definitions.


Cohort study

Using epidemiologic methods, such as a clinical trial, in which a cohort with a particular attribute is followed prospectively and compared for some outcome with another cohort not possessing the attribute.


An alkaloid obtained from Colchicum autumnale used in the treatment of chronic gout.


Major protein of the white fibers of connective tissue, cartilage, and bone.


Concomitant but unrelated pathologic or disease process; usually used in epidemiology to indicate the coexistence of two or more disease processes.

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)

Heterogeneous group of hygienic, diagnostic, and therapeutic philosophies and practices whose theoretical bases and techniques diverge from modern scientific medicine.

Computed tomography (CT)

Imaging anatomic information from a cross-sectional plane of the body, each image generated by a computer synthesis of x-ray transmission data obtained in many different directions in a given plane.


Man-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.

COX inhibitors

Prostaglandins are made by two different enzymes, cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). The prostaglandins made by the two different enzymes have slightly different effects on the body. COX-2 inhibitors are nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that selectively block the COX-2 enzyme and not the COX-1 enzyme. Blocking this enzyme impedes the production of prostaglandins by the COX-2, which is more often the cause of the pain and swelling of inflammation and other painful conditions. Because they selectively block the COX-2 enzyme and not the COX-1 enzyme, these drugs are uniquely different from traditional NSAIDs, which usually block both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes.

C-reactive protein (CRP)

Beta-globulin found in the serum of various persons with certain inflammatory, degenerative, and neoplastic diseases.


Presence of abnormal quantities of cryoglobulin in the blood plasma.

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