Glossary

Glossary

Here you can find commonly used medical terms in scleroderma.

    1. A

      1. Acid reflux

        Happens when stomach acid travels up into and irritates the gullet (oesophagus).

      2. Alveoli

        Tiny air sacs in the lungs, essential for gaseous exchange. The alveoli allow oxygen to get into your blood and remove carbon dioxide. 

      3. Antibodies

        Little proteins that form a key part of your body’s defence against bacteria and viruses. They search for and attach themselves to these invaders, helping your immune system find and get rid of them.

      4. Auto-antibodies

        Antibodies that target your body’s own cells, instead of invaders.

      5. Autoimmune

        Disease where the immune system acts against the person’s own body. ‘Auto’ = self; ‘Immune’ = protection against.

    2. C

      1. Calcinosis

        Hard lumps (made from calcium) that develop on pressure points or around joints.

      2. Collagen

        A type of connective tissue fibre that holds the body’s cells in place.

      3. Connective tissue

        The substance that makes up the body’s shape, connecting and separating different parts.

      4. CT

        Computed Tomography. A type of x-ray that provides more detailed imaging than normal x-rays are capable of providing.

      5. Cutaneous

        Relating to, or affecting the skin.

    3. D

      1. Dermatoscope

        Microscope or a small camera used to look at your nails and skin.

      2. Diffuse

        Spread over a wide area.

    4. E

      1. Echocardiogram

        Test which uses soundwaves to look at the structure of your heart and how well it can pump your blood.

      2. Electrocardiogram

        Test which records electrical signals from your heart, to see how well your heart is beating.

    1. F

      1. Fibroblasts

        One type of cell that helps us heal, keeps us healthy, repairs damaged tissues and forms scars.

      2. Fibrosis

        Thickening and scarring of connective tissue.

    2. H

      1. Heartburn

        Pain in the centre of the chest caused by acid reflux.

      2. HRCT

        High-resolution computed tomography. A type of x-ray that provides more detailed imaging than normal x-rays are capable of providing.

    3. I

      1. Immune system

        Your body’s defence system against invading bacteria, viruses and other causes of disease.

      2. Inflammation

        A normal response from your immune system, causing the affected part of the body to become red, swollen, hot, and often painful, in reaction to injury or infection.

      3. Interstitial lung disease

        A lung problem that can result from scleroderma (as well as other conditions), where fibrosis in the lungs makes them stiffer and thicker.

    1. M

      1. Morphea

        Another word for localised scleroderma.

      2. MRI

        Magnetic Resonance Imaging. A scan that uses a magnet and radio waves to look at organs and structures inside your body.

    2. N

      1. Nailfold capillaroscopy

        A painless test that uses a microscope or a small camera to check the tiny blood vessels at the base of the nail.

    1. P

      1. Pulmonary

        Related to the lungs.

      2. Pulmonary arterial hypertension

        A lung problem that can result from scleroderma, when the pressure in the blood vessels in the lungs gets too high.

      3. Pulmonary fibrosis

        A type of interstitial lung disease where fibrosis in the lungs makes them stiff.

    2. R

      1. Raynaud's phenomenon

        Medical condition in which problems in the small blood vessels cause fingers and/or toes to get numb, cold and painful, with changes to skin colour (usually white to blue/purple then to red).

      2. Respiratory

        Relating to the act of breathing.

      3. Rheumatoid arthritis

        A long-term autoimmune condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints.

    3. S

      1. Sclerodactyly

        Thickening and tightening of the skin on the fingers or toes. 

      2. Scleroderma

        The sclerosis (hardening) of the skin (derma), specifically. However, scleroderma is the term that is often used to refer to all types of sclerosis; both the skin changes and the changes in other tissue and organs in the body (systemic sclerosis).

      3. Sclerosis

        The hardening of tissues in the body.

      4. Sine scleroderma

        Means that there is systemic sclerosis involving other organs in the body, but no thickening of the skin.

      5. Spirometry

        Test that measures the capacity and flow of air into the lungs, from breathing into a mouthpiece.

      6. Symptoms

        Any feeling of illness or physical or mental change that is caused by a particular disease.

      7. Syndrome

        A set of medical signs and symptoms that are linked with each other and, often, with a particular disease or disorder.

      8. Systemic

        When a disease affects a number of different tissues and organs in the body.

      9. Systemic sclerosis overlap syndrome

        Systemic sclerosis plus another autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis.

    4. T

      1. Telangiectasia

        Small red spots caused by widened blood vessels usually on the hands and face.

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