Adult Still'S Disease

1 What is Adult Still's Disease?

Adult Still’s Disease is a rare form of an inflammatory disease characterized by high fever, skin rashes, and joint and muscle pain.

Frequency of episodes and symptoms vary from person to person.

In some people, this disorder has a sudden onset and resolves equally fast. But in others, the disorder may lead to a chronic condition with disabling symptoms.

Response to therapy also differs from individual to individual. Characteristics of the disease resemble that of systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment focuses on controlling inflammation with the use of medications.

2 Symptoms

Fever, joint pain, skin rashes, and sore throat are the characteristic symptoms of Adult Still’s Disease.

Temperature may raise to 102˚ F with two fever peaks a day. Fever can continue for a week or so.

Rashes are pink or reddish in color and usually appear along with fever.

In addition to the sore throat, lymph nodes may become swollen.

Stiff and painful joints are also common symptoms. Knees and wrists are the most commonly affected regions. Pain in the joints may continue for two weeks.

Fever may be accompanied by muscle pain and this will affect routine activities.

Some uncommon symptoms include:

  • Pain and swelling in the abdomen
  • Pain while taking deep breaths
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen liver or lungs
  • Inflammation of the heart

3 Causes

The exact cause of Adult Still’s Disease is unknown.

According to one theory, this condition is caused by an exaggerated response to a microbial infection.

Another theory states that Still’s Disease is caused by an autoimmune response. Some also believe that cytokines stimulate the development of this condition.

Adult Still’s Disease affect both men and women. It is more common in the age group of 16-35 years.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Making a diagnosis of Adult still's disease is done by number of tests.

A number of tests are needed to rule out the chances of other infections and conditions that have similar symptoms.

A review of medical history and symptoms help in diagnosis. A fever with an unexplained origin accompanied by salmon-pink rashes indicates the possibility of Adult Still’s Disease.

A variety of tests including blood tests and imaging are used in confirmatory diagnosis of this condition.

Blood tests

Blood tests – changes in the levels of blood cells indicate the presence of Adult Still’s Disease. Levels of platelets and white blood cells are higher in individuals affected by this disease. An erythrocyte sedimentation rate is also elevated with Still’s disease.

Other indicative measures include serum ferritin, liver enzymes, and fibrinogen, all of which are elevated.

Imaging

Imaging techniques like X-rays, CT scans, and ultrasounds are used to check for inflammation in the heart, fluid accumulation in the lungs, enlargement of the spleen, liver or lymph nodes, and inflammation of the joints.

5 Treatment

There is no complete cure for Adult Still’s Disease, so treatment mainly focuses on alleviating the symptoms and reducing the progression of disease.

This helps to prevent complications associated with the disease.

Medications

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to control symptoms of arthritis like pain and inflammation.

Steroids like prednisone are prescribed to control inflammation, particularly if the symptoms are severe or do not respond to NSAIDs. 

Corticosteroids may be given in combination with methotrexate to lessen inflammatory symptoms.

Other medications may be prescribed if the disease has affected other organs like the heart and lungs.

6 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Calcium and vitamin D supplements, juices of alfalfa, bilberry, and aloe vera are attempted as alternate remedies to control Adult still's disease.

Behavioral treatments like yoga and exercise are also beneficial in improving the symptoms.

In homeopathy, Abrotanum helps to relax painful joints like the wrists and ankles.

Apis is recommended for inflammation of the knees.

Arsenicum Album helps to reduce weakness of the joints and legs.

7 Lifestyle and Coping

There are different ways to adapt your lifestyle in coping with Adul still's disease.

Relaxing and managing stress is very important in minimizing the symptoms.

Being compliant with medications and checkups are also equally important.

Emotional support from family in order to cope with the disease helps in reducing the symptoms.

8 Risks and Complications

Possible complications of Adult still's disease are inflammation of the heart and lungs, enlargement of the spleen, liver disease and arthritis.

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