Conquering Still's Disease and Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
PM Medical Health News has released an updated, comprehensive patient reference guide consisting of over 60,000 pages on the diagnosis, treatment, options, and prognosis of Adult Onset Still’s Disease (AOSD) and Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. The 2010 edition contains practical information for patients and reference tools with clinical background material for health professionals. It is available through Amazon.com for $25.00.
Still’s Disease is a type of inflammatory arthritis that is characterized by a high, spiking fever (103 F or above) and a non-itchy, transient salmon-colored rash and arthritis/joint swelling. Other symptoms include extreme fatigue, sore throat, abdominal pain, poor appetite, weight loss, and nausea. Most people develop the disease between the ages of 16 and 35. Both genders are affected equally. Fewer than 1 out of 100,000 people develop adult-onset Still’s disease each year.
About 20% of those diagnosed with Still’s will go into remission during the first year, but more often people will experience chronic, long-term disease including liver disease, spleen enlargement, swelling of the lymph glands, pericarditis (inflammation around the heart), and pleuritis (inflammation around the lungs).
The form of Still’s disease that occurs in children is more commonly known as Systemic –onset Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Systemic JRA affects about 25,000 to 50,000 children in the United States.
The cause of Still’s disease remains unclear. One theory is that a bacterial infection or virus attacks the immune system. Another thought is that Still’s is an autoimmune disorder.
There is not one single blood test that can verify a diagnosis of Still’s, although tests can confirm certain traits of the illness. Many patients will develop a markedly elevated white blood cell count without obvious infection, low red blood count (anemia), and elevated markers for inflammation, such as C-reactive protein.
Still’s disease symptoms are often cyclical and is most often treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and steroids such as cortisone and prednisone during acute episodes. For those with a long-term, persistent illness, medications such as those used in rheumatoid arthritis can be prescribed. These include Plaquenil, Rhematrex, and Cytoxan. Research is being conducted on the efficacy of intravenous immunoglobulin therapy.