Glossary D

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


The disease in which generally muscle weakness is accompanied by a skin rash.


Acronym for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, a scan that measures bone density at the hip and spine to diagnose osteoporosis.


A small, circular cushion positioned between two vertebrae in the spine. Each disc consists of two parts: a strong outer cover called the annulus fibrosis, and a “jelly filling” called the nucleus pulposis.

Discoid lupus

A form of lupus that affects only the skin. The condition is characterized by red skin lesions covered with scales that fall off and leave scars. Lesions are usually most prominent over the bridge of the nose and cheeks (referred to a butterfly, or malar, rash), but can also occur on other parts of the body.


Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDS)

A class of medications that may actually work to modify the course of rheumatoid arthritis, slowing or even stopping its progression. Methotrexate and leflunomide (Arava) are examples of DMARDs.

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