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.


Arteriosclerosis characterized by irregularly distributed lipid deposits in the intima of large and medium-sized arteries, causing narrowing of arterial lumens and proceeding eventually to fibrosis and calcification; lesions are usually focal and progress slowly and intermittently.

Autoimmune diseases

Any 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.

Autoinflammatory diseases

Relatively new category of diseases that are different from autoimmune diseases. However, autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases share common characteristics in that both groups of disorders result from the immune system attacking the body’s own tissues, and also result in increased inflammation.

Avascular osteonecrosis

Also known as avascular necrosis or osteonecrosis, this is a disease that occurs when the blood supply to bones is cut off temporarily or permanently. May occur due to conditions that interrupt blood flow to bone, such as long-term glucocorticoid use or alcoholism. May also be associated with lupus, gout, osteoarthritis, vasculitis, and osteoporosis. Bone may weaken and break down, and the lack of blood supply may make it hard for the bone to grow back and repair damage. Pain when putting pressure on a bone or joint may be a symptom of avascular osteonecrosis.

Axial spondyloarthropathy

Inflammatory disease where the main symptom is back pain, and where the x-ray changes of sacroiliitis may or may not be present.

Azathioprine (Imuran)

Derivative of 6-mercaptopurine, used as a cytotoxic and immunosuppressive agent in organ transplantation and in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as hemolytic anemia, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and leukemia.

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B cells

Beta cell of the pancreas or of the anterior lobe of hypophysis.

Behçet’s syndrome (disease)

Syndrome characterized by simultaneously or successively occurring recurrent attacks of genital and oral ulceration and uveitis or iridocyclitis with hypopyon, often with arthritis; a phase of a generalized disorder, occurring more often in men than women, with variable manifestations, including dermatitis, erythema nodosum, thrombophlebitis, and cerebral involvement.

Biologic response modifier

Agent that modifies host responses to neoplasms by enhancing immune systems or constituting impaired immune mechanisms.


Medicine that is man made through genetic engineering techniques and closely related to a protein that occurs naturally in the body.

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