Adult-Onset Still’s Disease

Introduction to Adult-Onset Still’s Disease

Adult-onset Still’s disease (AOSD) is an ill health that affects both adults and children. That in children is termed systemic onset juvenile inflammatory arthritis(SoJIA). At least, one in every hundred thousand adults will be affected with AOSD.

Adult-onset Still’s disease is an inflammatory disease characterized by swollen lymph nodes, joints, tissues, and organs. Fatigue, joint pain, salmon-colored rashes, and high fever are also common characteristics of adult-onset Still’s disease.

The disease ‘comes and goes’, that is, it has episodes of flare-up and remission. And sometimes,it can ‘go and not return’ again. In this case, you can say it has one episode. But in some other persons, it can keep ‘coming, going, and returning’ in a few months. This is described as multiple episodes of AOSD.

What are the symptoms of adult-onset still’s disease?

Fever that lasts for many days and increases during night periods is a typical symptom of adult-onset still’s disease. Quick-changing skin rashes similar to hives can accompany this fever.

Other AOSD symptoms include:

  • abdominal pain
  • swollen and tender joints
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • weight loss
  • sore throat muscle pain
  • painful deep breathing
  • enlarged spleen or liver in extreme cases

Risks and causes of adult-onset still’s disease

Anyone who is above the age of 15 will be described to be at a very high risk of developing adult-onset Stills disease. It doesn’t have respect for gender: women and men can have it so long as they fall within this age bracket.

No typical cause has been found to be responsible for the development of adult Still’s disease. Allergens can play vital role in AOSD’s development. Allergens in the body trigger the body immune’s system to release antibodies. Once antibodies are released, they will fight the allergen and in the process bring about tissue inflammation.

Diagnosing adult-onset Still’s disease

Multiple tests might have to be conducted by your doctor in order to appropriately diagnose adult-onset Still’s disease.  This is so because AOSD shares symptoms similar to other disease conditions like, mononucleosis, cancer, and Lyme disease.

A blood test will likely be done on you to check ferritin level in the blood. If you have AOSD, the levels of ferritin will be very high in your blood.

But three symptoms stand out in the diagnosis of adult-onsetstill’s disease. They are fever, joint pain, and rash

Your doctor will order for other blood tests to get other information about the inflammation in your joints based on the information he has from your symptoms and ferritin levels in your blood. Your lungs and your heart will be assessed, too to see how well they are working. Your spleen, liver, and chest might also be diagnosed for any possible abnormal conditions in them.

The outcome of all the results will then inform him to develop a plan of treatment for you.

Treating adult onset Still’s disease

The initial symptoms of adult-onset Still’s disease (fever, joint pains, and rashes) are often markers of the onset of another medical concern – arthritis. It is arthritis that the treatment will be targeted at. And what will most likely be used is prednisone. It will be administered on a short course basis.

Prednisone can induce retention of body fluids and high blood pressure. Your doctor withthis knowledge will hence limit your duration of its usage.

In instances when AOSD becomes severe and chronic, medications that can modulate your immunesystem will be administered to you.

Some notable ones are:

  • adalimumab (branded as Humira) to block TNF alpha
  • anakinra (branded as Kineret) to block IL-1
  • tocilizumab (branded as Actemra) to block IL-6
  • etanercept (branded as Enbrel)
  • methotrexate (branded as Rheumatrex) to stop cells from dividing
  • infliximab (branded as Remicade)

These drugs can also be used to manage inflammatory arthritis i.e. rheumatoid arthritis.

With these drugs, there is little need for corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are also used to treat inflammatory conditions.

Adults with AOSD can help themselves on their own with little or no supervision from a doctor by:

  • doggedly using prescribed medications
  • engaging in exercises that can strengthen the muscle and joint
  • using supplements of vitamin D and calcium for the sake of preventing osteoporosis

You can meet your doctor for an exercise plan that you can use.

Outlook for adult-onset Still’s disease

Adult-onset Still’s disease has got no cure but profitable ways of treating it and managing inflammations.

Few people with AOSD might develop chronic arthritis that can last for several years. However, self-care and medication can be employed to take care of it.

Your doctor will help you with the best treatment mode to manage your condition and improve your life.

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