Albumin Albumin is a protein that circulates in the blood. By testing levels of Albumin, your doctor can determine whether your kidneys and liver are functioning properly.
Alternate-day Treatment Treatment where the medication is given every other day, with no medication on alternate days. Some doctors like to give prednisone in this fashion.
Analgesic A drug that relieves pain.
Anemia When your body doesn’t have the normal amount of red blood cells, you have anemia. It can be caused by very many things, including lupus.
Antibodies Specific proteins made by your body’s white blood cells. They are for defense of the body against foreign enemies. In certain diseases such as lupus, they attack the patients body.
Anticardiolipin antibody A type of antibody in the antiphospholipid antibody family.
Anti-DNA (also Anti-dsDNA) Antibodies to DNA. Between one-half and 75 percent of the patients with SLE have or will have this antibody. It can indicate activity of the disease. Although there is no “one test” that confirms lupus, the diagnosis is nearly certain if such antibodies are present.
Antigen The substance that triggers the formation of antibodies. In lupus it may be a foreign substance or a product of the persons own body.
Anti-inflammatory An agent designed to counteract or suppress inflammation. Nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs usually refer to “aspirin-like” drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
Antimalarials Drugs, such as Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), originally developed to treat Malaria that have beneficial effects in the treatment of Lupus.
Antinuclear antibodies (ANA) Proteins in the blood that react with the cell nuclei. Nearly all SLE patients have this antibody. However, it can be found in healthy people and in most people with autoimmune disease.
Antiphospholipid antibody Antibodies directed against substance in cell membranes. In the presence of a co-factor, can alter clotting and lead to strokes, blood clots, miscarriages and low platelet counts
Anti-RNP Antibody to ribonucleoprotein. Seen in SLE and patients with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease.
Anti-Sm This antibody is found only in lupus. The “Sm” stands for Smith– the patient whose blood was used to identify this antibody.
Anti-SSA (or Anti-Ro) This antibody is associated with Sjogren’s Syndrome, sun-sensitivity, neonatal lupus and congenital heart block.
Anti-SSB (or Anti-La) This antibody is related to and almost always seen with Anti-Ro.
Arthralgia Pain in a joint or joints.
Arthritis Inflammation of a joint or joints.
Autoantibody An antibody to one’s own tissues or cells.
Autoimmunity The reactivity of one’s own immune system to one’s own tissues.
B Cell A B cell is a type of white blood cell (alymphocyte) that makes antibodies.
Butterfly rash Red facial rash over the cheeks and the bridge of the nose. Also known as the malar rash.
CBC (Complete Blood Count) A blood test that measures the amount of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in the body.
CNS Central Nervous System.
Collagen Collagen is a protein found in cartilage, bone and skin.
Collagen vascular disease (Connective tissue disease) An old term that incorporates those rheumatic diseases that are characterized by dysfunction of the immune system.
Connective tissue The “glue” that holds the body together.
Complement A group of proteins found in the body that regulate inflammation. A low or falling levels suggest inflammation (lupus activity).
Corticosteroid A natural anti-inflammatory hormone made by the adrenal glands. it is now made synthetically. A common type used in lupus is prednisone.
Cortisone Synthetic or man-made corticosteroid.
Creatinine A blood test that measures kidney function
Creatinine Clearance A 24-hour urine collection test to determine kidney function.
Cutaneous lesions Visible changes in the skin: rashes, scarring and/or sores
Discoid lupus A type of skin disease seen in SLE; it can also exist by itself.
Estrogen Female hormones produced by the ovaries.
Fibrositis (Fibromyalgia) A condition that is characterized by muscular pain, weakness, sleep disorders, fatigue, and tender points on the body. Often mistaken for lupus although 20% of SLE patients have fibromyalgia
Flare Symptoms of the disease reappear or increase, an exacerbation.
FANA Another term for ANA; stands for fluorescent ANA.
Glomerulonephritis Inflammation of the glomerulus of the kidneys; seen in some SLE patients.
Hemolytic Anemia Anemia caused by the destruction of red blood cells by the body’s own antibodies. Also called Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia.
Immune Complex An antibody and an antigen that are bound together.
Immunofluorescence A method that uses a fluorescent stain to detect autoantibodies.
Immunosuppressive A medication such as Cytoxan or Imuran, that treats lupus by suppressing the immune system.
Inflammation A characteristic reaction of tissues to injury or disease resulting in swelling, redness, heat and pain.
LE Cell A specific cell found in the blood specimens of most lupus patients. This test served as a diagnostic test for lupus in the past but is no longer performed since the introduction of better blood tests.
Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) MCTD refers to an overlap of several conditions, including lupus, scleroderma, an polymyositis. Most patients have antibodies to RNP.
Nephritis Inflammation of the kidneys.
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAID) A group of drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, used to reduce inflammation that causes pain, redness, heat and swelling.
Pericardial Effusion Fluid around the sac (pericardium) of the heart.
Pericarditis Inflammation of the sac (pericardium) around the heart.
Photosensitivity Sensitivity of the skin to ultraviolet light (sun, fluorescent lighting, plant lighting).
Plasmapheresis Filtration of blood plasma through a machine to remove proteins that may aggravate lupus.
Platelet Cells of the blood that are responsible for forming blood clots.
Pleural Effusion Fluid collects in the sac lining (pleura) the lungs.
Pleuritis (Pleurisy) Inflammation of the Pleura.
Prednisone Synthetic steroid.
Proteinuria Excessive protein levels found in the urine, also called albuminuria. This is often the result of glomerulonephritis.
Raynaud’s Phenomenon Discoloration (red, white and blue) and sometimes pain or numbness in the hands and/or feet usually induced by cold temperature or stress.
Rheumatic Disease Any one of the 150 disorders that affects the immune or musculoskeletal systems.
Sedimentation Rate (Sed-rate) A non-specific test that correlates with degrees of inflammation.
Sjogren’s syndrome A disease characterized by dryness: dry eyes and dry mouth; the condition can occur by itself or accompany another rheumatic disease, especially rheumatoid arthiritis.
Steroid Steroid generally refers to corticosteroids. They are not to be confused with anabolic steroids.
STS Serologic Test for Syphillis; false positive tests can occur in people with lupus.
Systemic Affecting the whole body.
Thrombocytopenia A low platelet count.
Titer An expression of antibody levels. A high titer of antinuclear antibodies may be seen in lupus.
Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease (UCTD) Signs and symptoms of autoimmunity in a person who does not meet established criteria for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome or any other autoimmune disease.
Vasculitis Inflammation of blood vessels.