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.


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.

Cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS)

Group of rare, inherited, autoinflammatory diseases with the same genetic basis and overlapping symptomatology: familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome, Muckle-Wells syndrome, and neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (also called chronic infantile neurologic cutaneous articular syndrome).

Cutaneous vasculitis

Acute form of vasculitis that may affect the skin only, but also may involve other organs, with a polymorphonuclear infiltrate in the walls of surrounding small (dermal) vessels.

Cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) antibody test

May be ordered along with or following a rheumatoid factor test to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to assess the severity and probable course of the disease. CCP antibody may also be ordered to help evaluate the likely development of RA in people with undifferentiated arthritis – those whose symptoms suggest but do not yet meet the ACR criteria for RA.

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