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.

Blood vessel inflammation

Inflammation of blood vessels in any part of the body, including arteries, veins and capillaries. Also known as vasculitis. May occur in autoimmune diseases when the immune system attacks healthy tissues by mistake. Signs include pain, redness, swelling, heat sensation, and loss of function in the affected area. Can cut off the blood supply to organs, causing damage. It can also lead to blood vessels bursting, known as an aneurysm.

Body mass index (BMI)

Anthropometric measure of body mass, defined as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. A method of determining caloric nutritional status.

Bone mineral density (BMD)

Quantitative measurement of the mineral content of bone, used as an indicator of the structural strength of the bone and as a screen for osteoporosis.

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs)

Family of intracellular glycoproteins that induce new bone formation. Also influence bone remodeling, fracture healing, bone graft, integration, and heterotopic calcification.

Bone necrosis

Also known as osteonecrosis, avascular necrosis, and avascular osteonecrosis. 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 bone necrosis.

Bone resorption

Removal of osseous tissue.


Inflammation of a bursa.

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A peptide hormone; increases deposition of calcium and phosphate in bone and lowers the level of calcium in the blood.

Calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease (CPPD)

Formerly called pseudogout, calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease (CPPD) is a painful form of arthritis where calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystal deposits settle in a joint, typically the knee, and cause rapid onset of inflammation. CPPD sometimes affects other joints like the ankles or wrists. It is sometimes called pseudogout because it has similar symptoms to gout, which is also caused by crystal deposits, although a different type. Swelling, pain, redness, and heat in the joint may last for days or weeks if not treated. The disease often affects older people, but some people with calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals in their blood never develop CPPD. Risk factors for CPPD include genetic disorders, prior trauma to the affected joint, or mineral imbalances in the blood, such as too much calcium or iron or too little magnesium. Colchicine, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, and glucocorticoids are used to treat CPPD inflammation, and excess fluid may be drained from swollen joints.

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Canakinumab (Ilaris)

Used to treat cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS), also including familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome and Muckle-Wells syndrome. Causes inflammation, and patients with CAPS may have a fever, headache, skin rash, joint or muscle pain, or unusual tiredness or weakness. Helps prevent inflammation by keeping the interleukin-1 beta from working properly. Also used to treat active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children 2 years of age.

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