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.

Digital ulcers

Breaks in the skin that usually appear at the top of or underneath the fingernail. Can be extremely painful and can become infected, mainly due to the poor circulation and poor healing capacity, making daily activities very problematic.

Disease Activity Score (DAS)/Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28)

A combined index that measures disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It has been extensively validated for its use in clinical trials in combination with the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response criteria. Its easy use also makes it possible to collect valuable information about the disease activity of the patient in daily clinical practice. Evaluation of response to a treatment can be made much easier and more objective using the DAS or DAS28. Just assess the number of swollen and tender joints and measure the erythrocyte sedimentation rate. The DAS will provide a number between 0 and 10, indicating how active the RA is at this moment.

Disease Activity Score in 28 joints using the C-reactive protein level (DAS28 CRP) / Disease Activity Score in 28 joints using the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (DAS28 ESR)

Measure of disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis, assessed using patient global health (patient self-assessment), tender joint counts and swollen joint counts (up to 28), and the C-reactive protein level (DAS28 CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (DAS28 ESR).

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

Agents that apparently alter the course and progression of rheumatoid arthritis, as opposed to more rapidly acting substances that suppress inflammation and decrease pain, but do not prevent cartilage or bone erosion or progressive disability.

Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA)

Measurement of bone mineral density by calculation of the absorptiometry at two different photon energies; used to evaluate osteoporosis at very low dosage.

Dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA)

Use of low-dose x-radiation of two different energies to measure bone mineral content and fat:lean ratios at different anatomic sites.

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

Group of connective tissue disorders characterized by hyperelasticity and fragility of the skin, hypermobility of the joints, and fragility of the cutaneous blood vessels and sometimes the large arteries due to deficient quality or quantity of collagen.


Recording of electrical activity generated in muscle for diagnostic purposes.


Inflammation of the brain.

End-stage renal disease

Loss of renal function, either acute or chronic, that results in azotemia and syndrome of uremia.

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