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.



Systemic granulomatous disease of unknown cause, especially involving the lungs with resulting interstitial fibrosis, but also involving the lymph nodes, skin, liver, spleen, eyes, phalangeal bones, and parotid glands.

Scleroderma, limited

Autoimmune rheumatic disease affecting the connective tissues of the body. It is sometimes called CREST syndrome. Limited scleroderma affects about half the patients who have systemic scleroderma, while others may have the diffuse, more widespread, and rapidly acting form of this systemic disease. May cause slow-acting hardening of the skin over years, typically on the hands, fingers, and face. It may also affect internal organs, such as the esophagus, gastrointestinal tract, heart, lungs, or kidneys, causing fibrous hardening of tissues. However, limited scleroderma affects internal organs less frequently and severely than the diffuse form of the disease. Patients with limited scleroderma may develop pulmonary hypertension, a narrowing of lung blood vessels that can cause shortness of breath.

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Scleroderma, localized

Cutaneous lesions characterized by indurated, slightly depressed plaques of thickened dermal fibrosis tissue of a whitish of yellowish-white color surrounded by a pinkish or purplish halo.

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Scleroderma, systemic

Thickening and induration of the skin caused by new collagen formation, with atrophy of pilosebaceous follicles; either a manifestation of progressive systemic sclerosis or localized (morphea).

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Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor

Class of chemical compounds that selectively, to varying degrees, inhibit the reuptake of serotonin by presynaptic neurons and are posited to exert their antidepressant effect by this mechanism.

Sex hormones

General term covering those steroid hormones that are formed by testicular, ovarian, and adrenocortical tissues, and that are androgens or estrogens.

Short Form 36 (SF-36)

Multi-purpose, short-form health survey with only 36 questions. It yields an 8-scale profile of functional health and well-being scores as well as psychometrically-based physical and mental health summary measures and a preference-based health utility index. It is a generic measure, as opposed to one that targets a specific age, disease, or treatment group.

Simplified Disease Activity Index (SDAI)

The SDAI is the sum of 5 outcome parameters: tender and swollen joint counts (28 joints assessed), patient’s and physician’s global assessment of disease activity (on a 0–10-cm visual analog scale), and C-reactive protein (CRP; normal <1 mg/dl) level. The range of possible scores is 0–86. The Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) is the same as the SDAI but without the CRP.

Sjögren’s syndrome

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, dryness of mucous membranes, telangiectasias or purpuric spots on the face, and bilateral parotid enlargement; seen in menopausal women and often associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

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Spinal stenosis

Condition where the open spaces in the spinal canal gradually narrow. This narrowing puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves inside the canal. Usually affects the neck and lower back and may cause symptoms like muscle weakness, numbness, pain, tingling in the extremities, or bladder control problems, but some patients have no symptoms. Most often occurs due to the wear and tear associated with aging, as well as back injuries from car accidents or contact sports. The condition seen in younger people may be due to a genetic disorder. Drugs may help ease inflammation and pain, and surgery may be needed to relieve spinal cord pressure in some cases.

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