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Arthritis Today

Glossary S

Browse the glossary by selecting a letter or by entering an arthritis-related term:

Sacroiliac

The joint where the spine attaches to the pelvis.

Scleroderma

An umbrella term for several diseases that involve the abnormal growth of connective tissue. In most cases, the effects of this overgrowth are limited to the skin and underlying tissues, but in others, tissue overgrowth can affect the joints, blood vessels and internal organs.

Selective estrogen receptor molecules (SERMs)

A group of medications that work much like the natural hormone estrogen to slow bone loss, but lack estrogen's side effects on uterine and breast tissues.

SERMS

A group of medications that work much like the natural hormone estrogen to slow bone loss, but lack estrogen's side effects on uterine and breast tissues.

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Seronegative

Characterized by a negative test for rheumatoid factor. Although the majority of people with rheumatoid arthritis test positive for rheumatoid factor, as many as 25 percent do not. Their disease, therefore, is called seronegative.

Seropositive

Characterized by a positive test for rheumatoid factor. The majority of people with rheumatoid arthritis test positive for rheumatoid factor, making the test result useful as part of a diagnostic workup for the disease.

Serositis

Inflammation of the lining of some of the organs, such as the heart and lungs.

Sjogren's syndrome

A disease in which the immune system attacks the moisture-producing glands of the body, causing dryness of the eyes, mouth and other tissues. The syndrome can occur on its own or in conjunction with an inflammatory disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Splint

Devices made from metal, plastic, cloth or moldable foam that are used to support or stabilize a joint or to position a joint in a way that prevents further irritation or injury to joint or soft tissues surrounding it.

Spondylarthropathy

The collective name for a family of musculoskeletal disorders that primarily affect the spine and joints where the spine attaches to the pelvis. The spondylarthropathies include ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis and arthritis that accompanies inflammatory bowel disease.

Stem cells

Immature cells in the body that have the ability to develop into any of several types of specialized cells, as needed. Stem cells are being used in experimental therapies aimed at some autoimmune diseases because they have the capacity to repair damage and resolve the destructive autoimmune process.

Synovectomy

The removal a diseased joint lining (see synovium).

Synovial fluid

A slippery liquid secreted by the synovium that lubricates the joint, reducing friction between bones and making movement easier.

Synovitis

Inflammation of the synovium, the membrane that lines a joint. Synovitis is a common feature of inflammatory forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Systemic

Refers to a disease that affects organ systems of the body, rather than only a specific joint or joints. An example is rheumatoid arthritis, in which inflammation can occur not only in joints, but also in the heart and blood vessels of the cardiovascular system and the lungs of the respiratory system.

Predict Your Joint Pain
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Predict your joint pain level based on the local weather.

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