Glossary O

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


The state of being at least 20 percent over ideal body weight. Obesity is a risk factor for some forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and gout, as well as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other health problems.

Occupational therapist (OT)

A licensed healthcare professional trained to evaluate the impact of arthritis on daily activities. OTs can help devise easier ways to perform activities that reduce stress on joints and can prescribe splints and assistive devices that protect and stabilize joints.

Omega-3 fatty acids

A form of polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fats are one of four basic types of fat (the others are cholesterol, saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat) that the body derives from food. While diets rich in some fats increase the risk of heart disease and other health problems, the omega 3-fatty acids are recognized as important for good health, reducing the risk of heat attack and stoke, slowing the progression of atherosclerosis and reducing inflammation is diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. They are found primarily in coldwater fish.

Orthopaedic surgeon

A doctor who has been trained in the nonsurgical and surgical treatment of bones, joints and soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons and muscles. Sometimes also called an orthopaedist.



The most common form of arthritis. Also referred to as degenerative arthritis, it becomes more common with age and is caused by the breakdown of cartilage in one or more joints. It most commonly affects the spine, hips, knees and hands.


A disease in which bone loses density and becomes porous to the extent that it can break even from minor trauma.


A surgical procedure that involves cutting and repositioning a bone, usually performed in cases of severe joint misalignment.

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