Alopecia: a term used to describe hair loss that can affect the scalp and hair on the body.
Anifrolumab-fnia (Saphnelo): a monoclonal antibody infusion therapy for moderate to severe lupus that can improve overall disease activity, skin rash, arthritis and help reduce steroid doses. Anifrolumab reduces the activity of type 1 interferon signaling which reduces overactive immune function in some lupus patients.
Anemia: a reduction in the number of red blood cells in the body. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to body tissues, so the lack of red blood cells and oxygen delivery can cause dizziness, weakness and fatigue.
Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS): an autoimmune condition associated with pregnancy complications and blood clots in the arteries and veins.
Aspirin: a drug that reduces the clumping of platelets; platelets are tiny cell fragments in the blood that are important in blood clotting. Aspirin is sometimes recommended for people with lupus during pregnancy (at the end of the first trimester), antiphospholipid syndrome, or to help reduce risk of recurrent heart disease or stroke.
Autoimmune: a class of diseases where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body, instead of only attacking foreign diseases and germs.
Avascular necrosis: a disease that is caused by loss of blood supply to the bones. Blood normally would deliver important nutrients and oxygen to your bones and without this the bone dies or collapses. This condition is associated with steroid use and antiphospholipid syndrome.
Azathioprine (Imuran): this is a drug that is given to treat lupus and may also be given when someone receives a kidney transplant. This is an immunosuppressant drug, meaning it suppresses the immune system. It works by reducing DNA replication to decrease the number of immune cells that can attack the body, resulting in less inflammation.
B cell (B lymphocyte): This is a type of white blood cell that is a part of the immune system. B cells produce antibodies. Antibodies are used to recognize foreign substances in the body like bacteria or viruses, signaling for your immune system to attack. When the immune system attacks its own tissues, this is known as autoimmunity.
Belimumab (Benlysta): a treatment for lupus and lupus nephritis. It is a monoclonal antibody that reduces the survival of B cells. It is given as a subcutaneous injection (under the skin) or an intravenous infusion (into the vein). It can reduce arthritis, mouth sores, rash and kidney disease related to lupus inflammation. It can reduce the risk of severe lupus flares and reduce the dose of steroids.
Biopsy: this is a procedure that takes a sample of cells from your body to be tested in a laboratory or visualized under a microscope to help identify a diagnosis.
Bursitis: this is inflammation of a bursa. A bursa is a closed, fluid filled sac that acts as a padding to reduce friction between tissues of the body. These are usually located near large joints in the body like shoulders and hips.
Burst and taper: refers to a type of steroid dosing sometimes used to treat lupus flares that starts with a higher dose, then reduces over time down to a lower dose.
Cardiologist: a doctor is specializing in treating and diagnosing diseases of the heart. Becoming a cardiologist involves 4 years of medical school and 6-8 years of training in internal medicine and cardiology.
Mycophenolate mofetil (Cellcept) and mycophenolate sodium (Myfortic): these are immunosuppressant drugs that reduce the production of T and B cells to reduce inflammation caused by autoimmune disease and are also given after an organ transplant to reduce organ rejection.
Cerebritis: refers to inflammation of the brain which may be related to lupus or infection.
Clinical trial: a type of research study that tests new medical treatments to determine how well they work in comparison to the current treatments used. Clinical trials give evidence to help patients and doctors weigh risks and benefits of treatment decisions.
Complete blood count (CBC): this is a common blood test that is often part of a routine checkup. It counts the 3 types of cells that make up your blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. It can detect disorders like anemia, infection, and leukemia.
Complement (C3, C4): A complement test may be used to monitor people with an autoimmune disorder, most commonly lupus, to see if a treatment for the disease is working. When levels are lower than normal, this could be a sign of a lupus flare.
Autoimmune congenital heart block: abnormal function of the heart of a fetus or infant due to damage to the electrical pulses that cause the heart to pump. This may occur in the fetus of a mother who has autoantibodies to Ro/SSA and/ or La/SSB intracellular ribonuclear proteins that pass from the mother’s blood through the placenta to the fetus. The antibodies may cause damage to the conduction tissue of the fetus heart tissue.
Contraception: refers to any methods used to prevent pregnancy.
Creatinine: this is a waste product made by your muscles as a result of daily activity. Your kidneys work to remove creatinine from the blood into your urine. Creatinine is measured in the blood to estimate the function or health of the kidney.
C-reactive protein: this is a protein that increases in response to inflammation in the body.
CT scan: CT stands for Computed Tomography. This is an imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-ray technology and computer technology to create images of the inside of your body. It can be used to see bones, muscles, fat, organs, and blood vessels.
Cutaneous lupus: this is lupus that specifically affects the skin. Lupus is an autoimmune disease.
Cyclosporin (Neoral, Restasis): this is a medicine that is used to reduce inflammation from autoimmunity or to prevent the body from rejecting a transplanted organ. Oral cyclosporine may be used to treat autoimmune kidney disease or some types of blood disorders. Eye drops of cyclosporin (Restasis) are used to treat dry eye from inflammation (keratoconjunctivitis sicca).
Cytokine: this is a protein that is important for controlling the growth and activity of immune system cells and blood cells.
Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan): this is a chemotherapy and immunosuppressive drug used to treat severe lupus, cancer and other conditions.
DEXA: DEXA stands for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. It uses radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body to measure bone loss. DEXA can be used to diagnose osteoporosis to help estimate risk of bone fracture.
Discoid lupus: a chronic skin condition characterized by inflamed sores and scarring of the face, ears, and scalp. Early treatment of active discoid lupus can help reduce scar formation later.
Drug-induced lupus: this is a lupus-like disease that is caused by taking certain types of medications. Symptoms of drug-induced lupus generally resolve a few months after stopping the medication and are milder than lupus.
dsDNA antibody (double-stranded DNA antibody): this is a test used to help diagnose lupus. It is usually measured after a positive ANA test and presentation of symptoms associated with lupus. It may also be measured periodically in people diagnosed with lupus to help track disease activity.
Echocardiogram (echo): this is an imaging test that uses ultrasound technology to check the structures of the heart (such as the chambers, pericardium or lining around the heart, and valves) and assess how well the heart is pumping blood.
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): this test measures the electrical signal of the heart that controls the heartbeat and can show details about how the heart is functioning.
Erythema: a term to describe redness. It is often used to describe the skin when there is a rash or swelling.
ESR: ESR stands for erythrocyte sedimentation rate. The term erythrocyte refers to red blood cells. Sedimentation refers to a process where particles at the top of a liquid are pulled down to the bottom by gravity. ESR measures how quickly red blood cells are pulled down by gravity when suspended in liquid This test may help diagnose or monitor an inflammatory disease.
Fatigue: used to describe a feeling of being tired or weak, and can be physical or mental.
Fever: a fever refers to having a higher-than-normal body temperature. Most commonly, fever is caused by an infection. Less commonly, fever may be a symptom of autoimmune disease.
Fibromyalgia: a condition that causes pain all over the body, sleep problems, fatigue, and often causes cognitive dysfunction and emotional distress as a result of these symptoms.
FMLA: FMLA stands for the Family and Medical Leave Act. The FMLA provides certain protections for employees to be able to take unpaid leave for medical reasons or caregiving needs.
Genetics: this is the scientific study of genes and heredity. Heredity refers to the passing down of traits from parents to their offspring.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): This is when stomach acid flows up to your esophagus and irritates the lining of the esophagus. This may cause symptoms such as burning, belching, nausea and cough.
Hematocrit: this is a test used to measure the volume percentage of red blood cells in the blood. Having too few or too many red blood cells can be a sign of different diseases.
Hemoglobin: this is the protein in your red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen and delivering it to organs. It also transports carbon dioxide from your organs to your lungs to be released when you exhale.
Hemolytic anemia: this is a condition where red blood cells are destroyed faster than they can be made. This means that you would have too few red blood cells and less oxygen can be delivered to your organs.
Heparin: this is a prescription drug used to treat and prevent symptoms associated with blood clots that are caused by medical conditions or procedures.
Immunosuppressed: having a weakened immune system so it’s harder to fight infections and diseases.
Immunosuppression: refers to medications that suppress the immune system.
Infection: the presence of a virus, bacteria, or other foreign agent in the body.
Inflammation: a condition where part of the body becomes red, swollen, hot, and can often hurt after an injury or an infection. In autoimmune disease, an overactive immune system can attack parts of the body to cause inflammation and tissue injury.
Inflammatory arthritis: refers to joint inflammation that is caused by an overactive immune system. Symptoms associated with inflammatory arthritis include swelling, redness, or warmth of the joint, reduced range of motion, and stiffness in the mornings that lasts for an hour or more.
Inpatient: a patient that has to stay in the hospital while under treatment or after a procedure.
Interleukin: proteins made by immune cells and other cells in the body that play a role in the activation and development of immune system cells.
Kidney: two bean-shaped organs that are located just below the rib cage on each side of the spine. Kidneys filter wastes and extra water from your blood to make urine.
Liver: The liver processes blood leaving the stomach and intestines and breaks down nutrients. The liver is also known to metabolize drugs into forms that the body can use.
Lupus: a disease that causes your body’s immune system to attack its own tissues and organs.
Lymphadenopathy: this is the swelling of lymph nodes that may occur as immune cells gather to respond to infection, injury, or surgery. Swollen lymph nodes may also be related to inflammation from autoimmune disease or cancer.
Lymphocyte: a type of white blood cell that is part of the immune system located in the bone marrow, blood, and lymph tissue. The two main types are B lymphocytes (B cells) and T lymphocytes (T cells).
Methotrexate (Rheumatrex): used in the treatment of inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune disease, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and others. Methotrexate blocks DNA generation to reduce cell replication which is thought to reduce the proliferation of overactive immune cells.
Monoclonal antibody (mAbs): Antibodies are produced by the immune system to attach to antigens (specific protein targets). Since 1985, drugs called monoclonal antibodies have been manufactured to use this antibody structure to direct therapeutic effects to specific cells and parts of the body.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): an imaging technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create images of the organs and tissues in your body
Neonatal lupus: this is a rare autoimmune disorder in which lupus is present at birth due to transfer of autoantibodies from the mother to the fetus. The most significant findings can be skin disease and congenital heart block.
Neutrophil: a type of white blood cell that is important in helping the body fight infections.
Nephrology: a subspecialty of internal medicine that is concerned with diagnoses, treatment, and management of kidney functions.
Nephritis: a condition causing the tissues in the kidneys to become inflamed, resulting in problems filtering waste from the blood. Lupus inflammation can cause injury to the kidneys known as lupus nephritis. This may be identified through blood tests (creatinine), urine studies (looking for white blood cells, red blood cells or protein in the urine) or a kidney biopsy.
Occupational therapy: a form of therapy used to assess and improve physical function. Therapists assess physical function and assist patients with finding ways to complete every day activities through strengthening, support and environmental adaptation.
Optometry: the practice of examining eyes for visual deficits and prescribing corrective lenses.
Ophthalmology: is the study of medical conditions that affect the eye.
Oral ulcers: a sore that develops in the gums, lips, inner cheeks, or the roof of the mouth. May be from viral infection (such as herpes simplex virus), thrush, trauma, medication side effect, or autoimmune disease.
Orthopedic surgery: the branch of medicine concerned with providing surgical interventions to injuries of the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system involves the bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues.
Osteoarthritis: the most common form of arthritis, which happens as protective cartilage at the end of bones wears down over time or due to prior injury or trauma.
Osteoporosis: a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle which increases risk of fracture.
Outpatient: a patient who seen by healthcare workers in the clinic or office setting and is not hospitalized overnight.
Pericarditis: inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the heart, often causing chest pain.
Pernio: small patches of inflamed skin, also known as chilblains.
Phlebotomy: using a needle inserted into a vein to draw blood.
Photoprotection: sun-protective measures, such as use of broad spectrum mineral sunscreen and sun-protective clothing.
Photosensitivity: sensitivity to light. Ultraviolet light can be a trigger for cutaneous and systemic lupus inflammation. Sun exposure can cause flares several days to even several weeks later.
Physical therapy: therapy to help people improve movement and manage pain through exercise.
Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil): a prescription drug used to treat the symptoms of malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
Platelet: a small cell fragment that plays a role in blood clotting.
Pleurisy: a brief, sharp chest pain that may be aggravated by taking a deep breath. The pleura are two thin layers of tissue that separate your lungs from your chest wall. Pleurisy occurs when the pleura is inflamed or irritated.
Prednisone: a type of steroid medication that helps to quickly reduce inflammation by suppressing the transfer of immune cells into the tissues and by reducing the activity of the lymphatic system.
Raynaud’s: transiently decreased blood flow to the hands or feet due to episodes of exaggerated vasoconstriction (blood vessel narrowing) in response to exposure to cold temperature or emotional stress. This causes areas of color change of the fingertips that have a sharp border. Primary Raynaud phenomenon occurs when these symptoms occur alone without any associated disorder. Secondary Raynaud’s occurs in association with another illness such as lupus or systemic sclerosis.
Rheumatoid arthritis: an autoimmune disease that primarily causes inflammation of the joints. It primarily affects the hands, wrists, ankles and feet in a symmetric pattern and can cause joint swelling, reduced range of motion, and morning stiffness.
Rhupus (RA and lupus): this is used to describe the coexistence of symptoms typical of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Rituximab: an infusion monoclonal antibody medication that reduces B-cells and is used to treat certain autoimmune conditions, such as hemolytic anemia, rheumatoid arthritis and vasculitis.
Scar: composed of fibrous tissue that the body uses to heal and replace lost or damaged skin.
Self-management: behaviors that help promote health and manage disease symptoms, such as exercise, diet, education about symptoms.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): also known as lupus. An autoimmune disease that can affect the joints, skin, mucous membranes, connective tissues, heart, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels.
Sicca: a term to describe dry mucous membranes of the eyes and mouth.
Sjogren’s syndrome: a disorder of the immune system that causes dry eyes and dry mouth associated with SSA and SSB antibodies.
Steroid (also known as glucocorticoids): Steroid drugs are used to quickly reduce inflammation by suppressing the transfer of immune cells into the tissues and by reducing the activity of the lymphatic system. Manufactured or synthetic steroids include drugs such as prednisone, methylprednisolone, triamcinolone, dexamethasone, betamethasone, hydrocortisone. The body also makes a natural steroid hormone called cortisol.
Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE): an autoimmune disorder that causes red, scaly skin bumps or patches that commonly affect the neck, upper torso and arms.
Swelling: the enlargement of the tissue of organs, skin, or other body parts caused by a buildup of fluid.
Symptom: a physical feature that is known to be indicative of a particular disease.
Synovitis: when the synovium of a joint becomes inflamed causing swelling, redness, pain or reduced range of motion. The synovium is connective tissue that lines the inside of the joint capsule.
T-cell: part of the immune system that protects the body from infection.
Teratogen: something (such as a chemical, drug, medication) that causes a fetus to develop abnormally.
Tendonitis: inflammation of a tendon.
Toxicity: the degree to which something is poisonous.
Trigger: something that causes something else to happen. In lupus, triggers are what cause a flare of disease and may include sun exposure, illness (infection), or stress.
Ultrasound: an imaging technique that uses sound waves to visualize structures within the body.
Urinalysis: a test of your urine for protein, blood, white blood cells and infection.
Urine sediment: sediment in the urine can be a result of a urinary tract infection, kidney infection, kidney stones, bladder infection, vaginal bacteria, yeast infections, prostatitis, and parasites. In lupus, urine sediment analysis can help identify signs of inflammation or injury in the kidney.
Urticaria: also known as hives, which are red, itchy bumps or patches on the skin.
Vaccinations: a treatment given to produce immunity against a disease without getting the disease.
Vasculitis: inflammation of the blood vessels.
Voclosporin (Lupkynis): an oral drug used to treat lupus nephritis. Volclosporin blocks a protein called calcineurin which then reduces the activation of T cells, stopping them from causing inflammation in the kidneys.
Vitamin D: a vitamin that is essential for the absorption of calcium. It helps prevent rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, which are both conditions that affect the bones.
Warfarin: a blood thinner often used in treatment of antiphospholipid syndrome.
Xray: a high energy wave used to take images of the body and can be used to diagnose conditions.