Have you spent much time in the hospital or visiting doctors? Healthcare workers seem to have their own code and speak their own language at times. Overhearing their conversations, which often include abbreviations and acronyms, can make your head spin. It's not uncommon to feel like interjecting, "What does that stand for?"
A knowledge of medical terminology related to arthritis is important so that you can be a partner in your own healthcare. Communicating with doctors, nurses, and technicians is made easier if you have a good grasp of medical jargon. You will relax and feel more in control when you feel your healthcare team is talking to you and not talking above you and your level of comprehension.
A post on our arthritis forum at About pointed out the value of medical terminology courses. The person wrote, "When I first got hurt, and realized that I couldn't understand anything my docs were telling me, or anything about the reports that I was getting back from them, I took a correspondence course on Medical Terminology. The course has been a life saver for me, and has given me an advantage, being able to fully understand what is being said to, and about, me."
Understanding the Lingo
The following compilation of acronyms correlates with the various types of arthritis, as well as the tests and treatments which are associated with arthritic diseases. Use the list as a reference while you familiarize yourself with the "arthri-lingo" which often is used as a shortcut for hard-to-say, hard-to-spell medical terms.
It is common to see our arthritis online community members use "arthri-lingo" and "cyberlingo" as they communicate on the forum. As newly diagnosed arthritis patients learn the lingo, their understanding of what is being discussed will surely be enhanced.
Diseases and Conditions
AOSD - Adult Onset Still's Disease
AS - Ankylosing Spondylitis
AVN - Avascular Necrosis
CPPD - Calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate
CTS - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
CREST - Calcinosis, Raynauds, Esophagus disease, Sclerodactyly, Telangiectasia
DDD - Degenerative Disk Disease
DISH - Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis
DJD - Degenerative Joint Disease
EDS - Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
FMS - Fibromyalgia Syndrome
IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome
JRA - Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
JH - Joint Hypermobility
MCTD - Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
OA - Osteoarthritis
PMR - Polymyalgia Rheumatica
PA - Psoriatic Arthritis
RA - Rheumatoid Arthritis
RSD - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
RLS - Restless Leg Syndrome
RSI - Repetitive Strain Injury
SLE - Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
SS - Sjogren's Syndrome
TMJ - Temperomandibular Joints
UCTS - Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Syndrome
ASA - Acetyl salicylic acid (aspirin)
COX - Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
DMARDs - Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs
MTX - Methotrexate
NSAIDs - Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
DMSO - Dimethyl sulfoxide
MSM - Methylsulfonylmethane
SAM-e - S-adenosyl-methionine