Lupus Site - a guide for lupus patients and their families



Lupus Dictionary D-N

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Dermatomyositis An autoimmune process directed against muscles associated with skin rashes
Discoid lupus A thick plaquelike rash seen in 20% of those with SLE. If the patient has the rash but not SLE, he or she is said to have cutaneous (discoid) lupus erythematosus
Diuretic A drug that helps to make more urine
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid. The body's building blocks. A molecule responsible for the production of all the body's proteins
ECG (or EKG) Electrocardiogram, a recording of electrical forces from the heart
Electro-retinography A sensitive screening test for early abnormalities of the retina of the eye
ENA Extractable Nuclear Antibody. Blood test that covers Anti-RNP, Anti-Sm, Anti-La, Anti-Ro antibodies.

Inflammation of the inner lining of the heart

Eosinophils White blood cells that make up 0-5% of all white blood cells. Eosinophils are involved in allergic responses.
Normal range = up to 0.5
Erythema A reddish hue
Erythrocytes Red blood cells, which have no nucleus & transport oxygen to the tissues
ESR Erythrocyte sedimentation rate. The blood test used as a 'barometer' of inflammation. Normal range = male 0-15mm/hour; female 0-20 mm/hour
Fibromyalgia (fibrositis) A pain amplification syndrome characterised by fatigue, a sleep disorder, & tender points in the soft tissues; can be caused by steroids & mistaken for lupus, although 20% of those with lupus have fibromyalgia
Flare Symptoms reappear
Gene The biologic unit of heredity located on a particular chromosome
Glomerulonephritis Inflammation of the glomerulus of the kidney; seen in one-third of patients with lupus
Haematocrit A measurement of red blood cell levels. Low levels produce anaemia
Haematuria Red blood cells in the urine
Haemiparesis Paralysis or weakness on one side of the body
Haemoglobin Oxygen-carrying protein of red blood cells. Low levels produce anaemia.
Normal range = 13.2-17.0
Haemolytic anaemia Anaemia caused by premature destruction of red blood cells due to antibodies to the red blood cell surface
Histology The study of the microscopic structure of tissue
Histopathology The study of microscopic changes in diseased tissue
IgG (Immunoglobulin G) The major antibody of plasma & the most important part of our antibody response. Most autoimmune diseases are characterised by IgG antibodies
IgM Initially produced to fight antigens but soon decreases & allows IgG to take over. It plays an important but secondary role in autoimmunity
Immune complex An antigen & antibody together
Immunosuppresive A medication such as cyclophosphamide or azathioprine, which treats lupus by supppressing the immune system
Inflammation Swelling, heat, & redness resulting from the infiltration of white blood cells into tissues
Interstitial pneumonitis Atypical pneumonia due to either a virus or unknown factors
Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) An x-ray examination of the kidneys
LE cell Specific cell found in blood specimens of most lupus patients. The LE cell is a white blood cell that has swallowed the nucleus of another white blood cell
Lesion A change in tissue due to injury or disease
Leukopenia A low white blood cell count.
Livedo reticularis A blotchy purplish discoloration of blood vessels, usually on the wrists and knees
Lupus anticoagulent A means of detecting antiphospholipid antibodies from prolonged clotting times
Lupus profundus Inflammation of subcutaneous fat
Lupus vulgaris Tuberculosis of the skin; not related to systemic or discoid lupus
Lymph glands Glands situated strategically around the body to protect against the spread of infection
Lymphocyte Type of white blood cell that fights infection & mediates the immune response.
Normal range = 1.20-4.0
Lymphopenia A decrease in the number of lymphocytes in the blood.
Macrophages Cells that eat antigens, immune complexes, bacteria, & viruses
Mixed connective tissue disease Exists when a patient who carries the anti-RNP antibody has features of more than one autoimmune disease
Monocytes White cells that represent about 5% of circulating blood cells. They are responsible for processing foreign materials (antigens), & the destroying cells & tissue debris that are by products of inflammation.
Normal range = 0.2-1.0
MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) The form of scan using magnetism rather than x-rays
Myasthenia Gravis Disease in which antibodies block nerve impulses from being properly transmitted to the muscle cells; as a result, muscles become weak
Myocarditis Inflammation of the heart
Nephritis Inflammation of the kidney
Neuropathy Disease of the nerves
Neutrophils White blood cells, made in the bone marrow. 50-70% of circulating white cells are neutrophils.
Normal range = 2.2-7.5
NSAID Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or agent that fights inflammation by blocking the actions of prostaglandin.

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