Ankylosing spondylitis – a chronic inflammatory arthritis strongly associated with HLA-B27 gene and affecting both the axial skeleton (sacroiliac joints and spine) and the peripheral joints. The typical feature of ankylosing spondylitis is inflammation of the areas of tendon and ligament attachment to the bones (enthesis) called enthesopathy.

Arthritis an ailment process affecting joints.

Arthrocenthesis – aspiration of the synovial fluid from the swollen joint,

Arthroscopy – a minimally invasive surgical procedure based on a visual examination of the joint cavity with a small camera linked to the fiberoptic tube (arthroscope) that is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the skin. Sometimes arthroscopy may include surgical repair of certain intra- or periarticular structures.

Carpal tunnel syndrome – compression of the median nerve in the wrist carpal tunnel causing numbness, tingling and some weakness of the hand.

Cartilage – a dense sponge-like tissue covering bone ends. Cartilage is composed of cells called chondrocytes which are dispersed in a firm gel-like ground substance, called the matrix. Cartilage contains no blood vessels and nutrients are diffused through the matrix.

Celiac disease – an extreme form of gluten intolerance characterized by chronic inflammatory responses to certain grain proteins from wheat, rye and barley and associated with damaged intestinal lining and malabsorption of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

DMARDs – an abbreviation for Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs a group of drugs used in many autoimmune and inflammatory disorders to slow down disease progression.

Electromyography – a test that assesses the functional status of the muscles and the nerves controlling the muscles on the basis of their electrical activity.

Fibromyalgia – a chronic noninflammatory condition characterized by generalized musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points that occurs in precise areas, including neck, paraspinal muscles, shoulders, forearms and hips; also may cause sleep disturbances, morning stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and other nonspecific symptoms.

Gluten intolerance – is a genetic disorder characterized by abnormal inflammatory responses driven by gluten (a wheat protein) and related proteins from rye and barley.  Clinically, the disease presents in a broad spectrum of symptoms varying from minimal muscle and joint pain, mouth and eye dryness down to full blown celiac disease and correspondent anemia, malabsorption syndrome, chronic diarrhea and weight loss. Gluten intolerance is commonly associated with various rheumatologic and autoimmune diseases, including osteoporosis, pseudogout, Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus and multiple sclerosis.

Gout – a form of arthritis characterized by deposition of uric acid salts in the joints.

Lupus – a systemic autoimmune/connective tissue disease characterized by skin rashes, joint pain and swelling, inflammation of the kidneys, inflammation of the fibrous tissue surrounding the heart (i.e., the pericardium), as well as other problems. The diagnosis of lupus is based on the combination of physical findings and specific laboratory tests.

Multiple sclerosis – a chronic autoimmune disease affecting myelin, a key component of nerve “insulation” helping in the transmission of nerve signals.  Symptoms of multiple sclerosis include numbness, weakness, loss of muscle coordination, and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control.

Nerve conduction velocity – a test that assesses electrical conductivity of peripheral nerves.

NSAIDs – an abbreviation for NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs; a group of drugs with common mechanism of anti-inflammatory activity that is based on inhibition of mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. The group includes such popular drugs as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen among others.

Osteoarthritis – a degenerative joint disease characterized by progressive loss of the articular cartilage, bone deformities and low grade inflammation.

Psoriatic arthritis – an inflammatory arthritis associated with psoriasis (a chronic inflammatory skin disease).  The genetics, mechanisms of the diseases and the joint distribution relate psoriatic arthritis to ankylosing spondylitis.

Pseudogout – a form of arthritis associated with deposition of calcium pyrophosphate crystals in various joints.

Reactive arthritis – a joint inflammation following infection elsewhere in the body (most commonly in the gastrointestinal tract).

Rheumatism – a systemic autoimmune or systemic inflammatory illness affecting the entire body including the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis – a systemic inflammatory disease that targets synovium and results in pain, stiffness, swelling, loss of function and deformities of the affected joints due to destruction of the cartilage and adjacent bone. The diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is based on the pattern of the inflamed joints distribution, radiographic and laboratory data.

Sacroiliac joint – the joint connecting tail bone (sacrum) and pelvic bone (ilium).

Sacroiliitis – inflammation of the sacroiliac joint

Scleroderma – a systemic connective tissue disease causing thickening and hardening (induration) of the skin due to abnormal formation and deposition of collagen fibers. Scleroderma frequently damages internal organs, including kidneys and lungs.

Synovial fluid – a viscous fluid, the main function of which is to lubricate the joints, tendon sheaths, or bursas; synovial fluid also helps to nourish the cartilage.

Synovitis – inflammatory process affecting synovium.

Synovium – a layer of connective tissue that lines the joint cavity. One of the main functions of synovium is production of the synovial fluid.

Uric acid – a byproduct of the purine metabolism which in its turn is a product of nucleic acid breakdown. The majority of uric acid is synthesized in the liver.  Elevated levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia) and its salts are associated with formation of urate crystals causing gout and kidney stones.  Hyperuricemia is also a part of metabolic syndrome or syndrome X - a cluster of risk factors for coronary artery disease.

Uveitis - an inflammation of the inner eye, including the iris (the colored tissue that holds the lens of the eye) and the choroid plexus (a network of blood vessels around the eyeball).  Uveitis is commonly represents a part of ankylosing spondylitis.

Vasculitis – a systemic inflammatory condition affecting blood vessels.  There are different forms of vasculitis including temporal arteritis, small vessel vasculitis, Wegener’s granulomatosis, polyarteritis nodusum etc, which are distinguished on the basis of the size and anatomical localization of the vessels involved, as well as the histological picture of the inflammation. Vasculitis can also be associated with arthritis.

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