Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) article.

Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Acetaminophen: A nonaspirin pain reliever or analgesic. Acetaminophen may be given alone t...

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Acupuncture: The practice of inserting needles into the body to reduce pain or induce anes...

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Adjacent: Lying nearby. Related terms include superjacent, subjacent, and circumjacent. Fr...

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Aerobic: Oxygen-requiring. Aerobic bacteria need oxygen to grow. Aerobic exercise requires...

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Amyloidosis: A group of diseases that result from the abnormal deposition of a protein, ca...

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Analysis: In psychology, a term for conversation-based therapeutic processes used to gain ...

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Anemia: The condition of having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity ...

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Anesthesia: Loss of feeling or awareness, as when an anesthetic is administered before sur...

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Ankylosis: Stiffness or, more often, fusion of a joint. From the Greek ankylsis, meaning s...

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Anti-CCP: See: Citrulline antibody.

Antibody: An immunoglobulin, a specialized immune protein, produced because of the introdu...

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Arthritis: Inflammation of a joint. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, w...

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Arthrocentesis: A procedure in which a sterile needle and syringe are used to drain fluid ...

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Arthroscopy: A surgical technique in which a tube-like instrument is inserted into a joint...

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Aspiration: Removal by suction of fluid and cells through a needle. Aspiration also refer...

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Aspirin: Once the Bayer trademark for acetylsalicylic acid, now the common name for this a...

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Atrophy: A wasting away or diminution. Muscle atrophy is a decrease in muscle mass, often ...

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Autoimmune: Pertaining to autoimmunity, a misdirected immune response that occurs when the...

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Autoimmune disease: An illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own i...

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Bacteria: Single-celled microorganisms that can exist either as independent (free-living) ...

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Bacterial: Of or pertaining to bacteria, as in a bacterial lung infection.

Bacterium: The singular of bacteria.

Blood clots: Blood that has been converted from a liquid to a solid state. Also called a t...

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Blood count: The calculated number of white or red blood cells (WBCs or RBCs) in a cubic m...

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Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is...

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Bone density: Bone density is the amount of bone tissue in a certain volume of bone. It ca...

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Bone marrow: The soft blood-forming tissue that fills the cavities of bones and contains f...

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Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through ...

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Bumps: The raised area of a bump or bruise results from blood leaking from these injured b...

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Bypass: An operation in which a new pathway is created for the transport of substances in ...

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C-reactive protein: An acute-phase plasma protein whose blood concentration reflects the p...

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Calcium: A mineral found mainly in the hard part of bones, where it is stored. Calcium is ...

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Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, ...

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Cardiac: Having to do with the heart.

Cardiovascular: Relating to the circulatory system, which comprises the heart and blood ve...

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Carpal tunnel syndrome: Compression and irritation of the median nerve as it passes under ...

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Cartilage: Firm, rubbery tissue that cushions bones at joints. A flexible kind of cartilag...

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Cell: The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small c...

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Cervical: Having to do with any kind of neck, including the neck on which the head is perc...

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Cholesterol: The most common type of steroid in the body. Cholesterol has a reputation for...

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Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

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Complete blood count: A set values of the cellular (formed elements) of blood. These meas...

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Complication: In medicine, an unanticipated problem that arises following, and is a result...

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Compress: Cloth or another material applied under pressure to an area of the skin and held...

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Coronary arteries: The vessels that supply the heart muscle with blood rich in oxygen. The...

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Cortisone: A naturally occurring adrenocorticoid hormone that is produced in minute amount...

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Cough: A rapid expulsion of air from the lungs, typically in order to clear the lung airwa...

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Cox-1: Cyclooxygenase-1, an enzyme that acts to speed up the production of certain chemica...

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Cox-2: Cyclooxygenase-2, an enzyme that acts to speed up the production of certain chemica...

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Cox-2 inhibitor: An antiinflammatory drug that selectively blocks the cox-2 enzyme. Blocki...

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CRP: C-reactive protein.

Cure: 1. To heal, to make well, to restore to good health. 2. A time withou...

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Deep vein thrombosis: A blood clot within a deep vein, typically in the thigh or leg. The ...

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DEXA: Dual energy X-ray absorptometry. See: DXA.

Diabetes: Usually refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabe...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Dry mouth: The condition of not having enough saliva to keep the mouth wet. This is due to...

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Dyspepsia: Indigestion. A condition characterized by upper abdominal symptoms that may inc...

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Effusion: Too much fluid, an outpouring of fluid. For example, a pleural effusion is an ab...

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Embolism: The obstruction of a blood vessel by a foreign substance or a blood clot that tr...

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Emphysema: is a lung condition featuring an abnormal accumulation of air due to enlargemen...

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Enzyme: Proteins that speeds up the rate of a chemical reaction in a living organism. An e...

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Enzymes: Proteins that act as a catalysts in mediating and speeding a specific chemical re...

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Erosion: An erosion is an eating away of a surface. ("Erodere" in Latin means to eat out.)...

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Erythrocyte: A cell that contains hemoglobin and can carry oxygen to the body. Also called...

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Essential: In medicine, of unknown cause, as in essential hypertension (high blood pressur...

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Fatigue: A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency ...

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Fatty acids: Molecules that are long chains of lipid-carboxylic acid found in fats and oil...

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FDA: Food and Drug Administration.

Fever: Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37...

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Flu: Flu is a colloquialism for influenza. The flu is an acute respiratory illness caused ...

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Food and Drug Administration: An agency within the US Public Health Service that provides ...

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Gastritis: Inflammation of the stomach.

Gastrointestinal: Adjective referring collectively to the stomach and small and large inte...

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Genes: The basic biological units of heredity. Segments of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) nee...

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Genetics: The scientific study of heredity. Genetics pertains to humans and all other orga...

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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Heart attack: The death of heart muscle due to the loss of blood supply. The loss of bloo...

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Heart disease: Any disorder that affects the heart. Sometimes the term "heart disease" is ...

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Heart muscle: A type of muscle with unique features only found in the heart. The heart mus...

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Heart valves: There are four heart valves. All are one-way valves. Blood entering the ...

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Hemoglobin: The oxygen-carrying pigment and predominant protein in the red blood cells. He...

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Hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver, irrespective of the cause. Hepatitis is caused by a ...

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Hepatitis B: Inflammation of the liver due to the hepatitis B virus (HBV), once thought to...

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Hepatitis C: Inflammation of the liver due to the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is usuall...

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Herbal: 1. An adjective, referring to herbs, as in an herbal tea.
2. A...

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Ibuprofen: A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is commonly used to treat pa...

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Idiopathic: Of unknown cause. Any disease that is of uncertain or unknown origin may be te...

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Immune: Protected against infection, usually by the presence of antibodies.

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Immune response: Any reaction by the immune system. For example, poison ivy can cause an i...

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Immune system: A complex system that is responsible for distinguishing a person from every...

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Incision: A cut through skin or other tissue performed by a health care professional.

Incurable: Not amenable to a cure. Incapable of being cured, healed and made well again. ...

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Indicate: In medicine, to make a treatment or procedure advisable because of a particular ...

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Infarction: The formation of an infarct, an area of tissue death, due to a local lack of o...

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Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a ...

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Injury: Harm or hurt. To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emot...

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Interleukin-1: A protein produced by various cells, including macrophages, interleukin-1 ...

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Intubation: The process of putting a tube into a hollow organ or passageway, often into th...

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Isotope: A form of a chemical element that has a different-from-normal atomic mass. Isotop...

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Jaw: The movable junction of the bones below the mouth (the mandible) and the bone just ab...

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Joint: The area where two bones are attached for the purpose of permitting body parts to m...

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Joint aspiration: A procedure whereby a sterile needle and syringe are used to drain joint...

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Juvenile: Between infantile and adult. Used in medicine to indicate onset in childhood, as...

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Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: See: Arthritis, systemic-onset juvenile rheumatoid.

Kidney: One of a pair of organs located in the right and left side of the abdomen. The kid...

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Knee: The knee is a joint which has three parts. The thigh bone (the femur) meets the lar...

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Knuckle: The top of the flexed finger joint.

Leg: In popular usage, the part of the body from the top of the thigh down to the foot, an...

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Lethargy: Abnormal drowsiness, stupor.

Leukopenia: A shortage of white blood cells.

Liver: The largest solid organ in the body, situated in the upper part of the abdomen on t...

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Lung cancer: Cancer of the major organ of respiration - the lung. Lung cancer is one of th...

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Lungs: The lungs are a pair of breathing organs located with the chest which remove carbon...

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Lymph: The almost colorless fluid that travels through the lymphatic system, carrying cell...

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Lymphoma: A tumor of the lymphoid tissue. The major types of lymphoma are Hodgkin's diseas...

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Macrophage: A type of white blood cell that ingests foreign material. Macrophages are key ...

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Magnesium: A mineral involved in many processes in the body including nerve signaling, the...

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Magnetic resonance imaging: A procedure that uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer t...

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Malaise: A vague feeling of discomfort, one that cannot be pinned down but is often sensed...

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Malaria: An infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites from the Plasmodium family th...

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Marrow: The bone marrow.

Membrane: A very thin layer of tissue that covers a 'surface.

Mortality: Susceptible to death.

Mortality rate: A death rate. There are a number of different types of mortality rates as,...

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Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and con...

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MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging.

Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Myocardial infarction: A heart attack. Abbreviated MI.

Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constric...

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Necrosis: The death of living cells or tissues. Necrosis can be due, for example, to ische...

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Neuropathy: Any disease or malfunction of the nerves.

NIAMS: Stands for National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, o...

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NSAID: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, a medication that is commonly prescribed or pu...

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Nutrition: 1: The process of taking in food and using it for growth, metabolism, and repai...

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Occupational therapist: A licensed health professional who is trained to evaluate patients...

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Omega-3 fatty acids: A class of essential fatty acids found in fish oils, especially from ...

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Onset: In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness as, for ex...

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Ophthalmologist: A physician who practices ophthalmology.

Organ: A relatively independent part of the body that carries out one or more special func...

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Osteoarthritis: A type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss ...

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Osteoporosis: Thinning of the bones, with reduction in bone mass, due to depletion of calc...

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Overweight: The term "overweight" is used in two different ways. In one sense it is a way ...

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Oxygen: The odorless gas that is present in the air and necessary to maintain life. Oxygen...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Parasite: A plant or an animal organism that lives in or on another and takes its nourishm...

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Pericardial: Referring to the pericardium, the sac of fibrous tissue that surrounds the he...

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Pericardial effusion: Too much fluid within the pericardium, which normally contains a sma...

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Periodontal: Having to do with the gums and supporting structures of the teeth.

Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located.

Peripheral neuropathy: A problem with the functioning of the nerves outside the spinal cor...

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Physical therapist: A person who is trained and certified by a state or accrediting body t...

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Physical therapy: A branch of rehabilitative health that uses specially designed exercises...

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Placebo: A "sugar pill" or any dummy medication or treatment.

Platelet: An irregular, disc-shaped element in the blood that assists in blood clotting....

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Pleural: Pertaining to the pleura, the thin covering that protects the lungs. The term "pl...

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Pleural effusion: Excess fluid between the two membranes that cover the lungs (the viscera...

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Pleurisy: Inflammation of the pleurae, the membranes surrounding the lungs. Symptoms inclu...

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Pleuritis: Inflammation of the pleura which may be caused by infection, injury or tumor. W...

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Potassium: The major positive ion (cation) found inside cells. The chemical notation for p...

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Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.

Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or dev...

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Prescription drug: A drug requiring a prescription, as opposed to an over-the-counter drug...

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Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

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Progressive: Increasing in scope or severity, advancing, or going forward. For example, a ...

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Prostate: A gland within the male reproductive system that is located just below the blad...

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Protein: One of the three nutrients used as energy sources (calories) by the body. Protein...

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Proteins: Large molecules composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific orde...

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Pulmonary: Having to do with the lungs.

Pulmonary embolism: Sudden closure of a pulmonary artery or one of its branches, caused by...

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Pulmonary fibrosis: Scarring throughout the lungs that can be caused by many conditions, s...

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Purpura: Hemorrhage (bleeding) into the surface of the skin. The area of skin with purpura...

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Radioactive: Emitting energy waves due to decaying atomic nuclei. Radioactive substances a...

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Radioisotope: A version of a chemical element that has an unstable nucleus and emits radia...

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Randomized: The use of chance alone to assign the participants in an experiment or trial t...

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Range of motion: The full movement potential of a joint, usually its range of flexion and ...

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Recurrent: Appearing or occurring again. For example, a recurrent fever is a fever that ha...

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Red blood cells: The blood cells that carry oxygen. Red cells contain hemoglobin and it is...

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Rejection: In transplantation biology, when the body's immune system attacks transplanted ...

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Remission: Disappearance of the signs and symptoms of cancer or other disease. A remission...

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Retina: The retina is the nerve layer that lines the back of the eye, senses light, and cr...

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Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation of joint...

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Rheumatoid factor: An antibody that is measurable in the blood and is used to diagnose rhe...

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Rheumatoid nodules: Rheumatoid nodules are firm lumps in the skin of patients with rheumat...

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Rheumatologist: A specialist in the non-surgical treatment of rheumatic illnesses, especia...

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Rheumatology: A subspecialty of internal medicine that involves the nonsurgical evaluation...

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Scan: As a noun, the data or image obtained from the examination of organs or regions of...

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Sclera: The tough white outer coat over the eyeball that covers approximately the posterio...

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Scleritis: Inflammation of the sclera. Scleritis causes local pain and can cause vision lo...

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Sedimentation rate: A blood test that detects and monitors inflammation in the body. Abbre...

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Shortness of breath: Difficulty in breathing. Medically referred to as dyspnea. Shortness ...

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Silica: The chief component of sand and a substance responsible for lung disease and cance...

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Skeleton: The skeleton is composed of bones and is the framework of the body.

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Sore: 1. (adjective) A popular term for painful, such as a sore throat. 2. (...

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Sore throat: Pain in the throat. Sore throat may be caused by many different causes, inclu...

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Spinal cord: The major column of nerve tissue that is connected to the brain and lies with...

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Spine: 1) The column of bone known as the vertebral column, which surrounds and protects ...

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Spleen: An organ that is located in the upper-left part of the abdomen, not far from the s...

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Stage: As regards cancer, the extent of a cancer, especially whether the disease has spre...

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Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upp...

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Strain: 1. An injury to a tendon or muscle resulting from overuse or trauma. 2. A heredita...

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Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional fact...

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Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood...

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Subcutaneous: Under the skin. For example, a subcutaneous injection is an injection in whi...

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Substance: 1. Material with particular features.
2. The material that...

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Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or inj...

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Symptom: Any subjective evidence of disease. In contrast, a sign is objective. Blood comin...

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Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

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Synovectomy: Surgical removal of the joint lining. A synovectomy may be done to remove the...

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Synovial fluid: The slippery fluid that lubricates joints. Also known as synovia.

Synovitis: Inflammation of the synovial membrane, the lining of the joints.

Systemic: Affecting the entire body. A systemic disease such as diabetes can affect the wh...

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Tear: A drop of the salty secretion of the lacrimal glands which serves to moisten the con...

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Tendon: The soft tissue by which muscle attaches to bone. Tendons are somewhat flexible, b...

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Tension: 1) The pressure within a vessel, such as blood pressure: the pressure within t...

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Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Throat: The throat is the anterior (front) portion of the neck beginning at the back of th...

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Thrombosis: The formation or presence of a blood clot in a blood vessel. The vessel may be...

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Tired: A feeling of a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency of accomplishment,...

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Tobacco: A South American herb (Nicotiana tabacum) whose leaves contain 2 to 8 percent nic...

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Tobacco smoking: The direct inhalation of tobacco smoke, the basis of major health hazards...

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Transplant: The grafting of a tissue from one place to another, just as in botany a bu...

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Tuberculosis: A highly contagious infection caused by the bacterium called Mycobacteriu...

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Tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue. Tumors are a classic sign of inflammation, and can be ...

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Tumor necrosis factor: One of multiple proteins capable of inducing necrosis (death) of tu...

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Turmeric: A spice with anti-inflammatory effects. The active ingredient is curcumin, which...

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Tylenol: See: Acetaminophen.

Ulcer: A lesion that is eroding away the skin or mucous membrane. Ulcers can have various ...

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Ultrasound: High-frequency sound waves. Ultra-sound waves can be bounced off tissues by us...

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Urine: Liquid waste produced by the kidneys. Urine is a clear, transparent fluid that norm...

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Vasculitis: A general term for a group of uncommon diseases that feature inflammation of t...

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Vein: A blood vessel that carries blood that is low in oxygen content from the body back t...

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Vertebrae: The preferred plural of vertebra. (The alternate plural is vertebras.) See also...

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Virus: A microorganism that is smaller than a bacterium that cannot grow or reproduce apar...

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Vitamin C: An essential nutrient found mainly in fruits and vegetables. The body requires ...

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Voluntary: Done in accordance with the conscious will of the individual. The opposite of i...

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Weight loss: Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (die...

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White blood cell: One of the cells the body makes to help fight infections. There are seve...

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White blood cell count (leukocyte count): The number of white blood cells (WBCs) in the b...

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Wrist: The part of the hand that is nearest the forearm and consists of the carpal bones a...

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X-ray: High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used...

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Medical Dictionary