...less medical jargon in a 'Quick Glance' format!
Adult Stills Disease: It's mysterious and it's rare. It is a form of rheumatoid arthritis, that mainly affects children. But there's even a rarer form which strikes adults -- Adult Onset Still's Disease (AOSD). Though rare, it is found worldwide and predominantly affects young adults between 16 and 35.
AOSD is an inflammatory condition that attacks internal organs, joints and other parts of the body. It can appear and disappear suddenly. In very severe cases, AOSD becomes chronic and extremely debilitating, causing terrible pain and stiffness. After many years, the disease cripples vital organs such as the heart and lungs.
AOSD does not seem to run in families. The disease can be difficult to diagnose, as it is difficult to distinguish from a number of other conditions that cause unexplained fever as well as other forms of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as from a number of other diseases.
Joint pain, warmth & swelling
Swollen lymph nodes
Pain with a deep breath
Abdominal pain and swelling
While there is no known cure for Still's Disease, it is a treatable disease. Thanks to ongoing research in pharmaceuticals many patients can achieve "control" over their disease. 1999 was a great year for the introduction of a new class of drugs to combat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as RA, and Still's. These new drugs, referred to as biologic agents, are anti-TNF (tumor necrosis factor) and they siginifically reduce inflammation and pain.
We do not know the exact cause Adult Stills Disease but researchers are currently investigating a number of possibilities:
The abrupt appearance of high fever, sore throat, rash, lymph node swelling and abnormal white blood cell counts suggest some kind of infectious trigger.
While no particular cause of infection has been found, the German Measles virus has been detected in many people with AOSD cases. Researchers have also found some association between AOSD and EB, CMV, mumps, parainfluenza, and other viruses.
Pregnant women are slightly more likely to come down with AOSD or to have a relapse. On the other hand, if the female hormones associated with pregnancy played a role, we would expect AOSD to be more common in one sex or the other. Unlike lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, however, which are more common in women, AOSD seems to affect both sexes equally.