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.

Giant cell arteritis (GCA)/temporal arteritis

Common type of vasculitis, or blood vessel inflammation, seen mostly in older adults. Formerly called temporal arteritis, as it tends to affect the arteries located along the temples on the sides of the head. In GCA, arteries inflame, causing headache, blurred vision, pain in the shoulders or hips, jaw pain after chewing food, fever, pain in the scalp, and other symptoms. May lead to blindness if it is not treated promptly, usually with glucocorticoids. Occurs more often in women than in men.

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Glomerular filtration rate (GFR)

Volume of water filtered out of the plasma through glomerular capillary walls into Bowman capsules per unit time; considered equivalent to inulin clearance.


Renal disease characterized by diffuse inflammatory changes in glomeruli that are not the acute response to infection of the kidneys.


Any steroid-like compound capable of significantly influencing intermediary metabolism such as promotion of hepatic glycogen deposition, and of exerting a clinically useful antiinflammatory effect.

Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis

The most common form of secondary osteoporosis. Fractures, which are often asymptomatic, may occur in as many as 30–50% of patients receiving chronic glucocorticoid therapy. Vertebral fractures occur early after exposure to glucocorticoids, at a time when bone mineral density (BMD) declines rapidly. Fractures tend to occur at higher BMD levels than in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis.

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An amino sugar found in chitin, cell membranes, and mucopolysaccharides generally; used as a pharmaceutical aid.

Golimumab (Simponi)

Golimumab is an injectable synthetic (man-made) protein that binds to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) in the body and blocks the effects of TNFα in patients within rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis. As a result, the inflammation caused by these diseases and its consequences is reduced.


Disorder of purine metabolism, occurring especially in men, characterized by a raised but variable blood uric acid level and severe recurrent acute arthritis of sudden onset resulting from deposition of crystals of sodium urate in connective tissues and articular cartilage.

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Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s)

Disease occurring mainly in the fourth and fifth decades, characterized by necrotizing granulomas and ulceration of the upper respiratory tract, with purulent rhinorrhea, nasal obstruction, and sometimes with otorrhea, hemoptysis, pulmonary infiltration and cavitation, and fever; underlying condition is a vasculitis affecting small vessels, and is possibly due to an immune disorder.

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Growth factor

Natural substance produced by the body (hormones) or obtained from food (vitamins, minerals) that promotes growth and development by directing cell maturation and differentiation and by mediating maintenance and repair of tissues.

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