Adult Still’s disease is a rare type of arthritis that causes initial symptoms such as a sore throat, high fever once or twice a day and a salmon-colored rash. In addition, joint pain develops a few weeks after the initial symptoms.
Adult Still’s disease is similar to rheumatoid arthritis due to its inflammatory nature. The inflammation can damage affected joints, especially the wrists.
Anti-inflammatory medication such as prednisone is suggested to control the inflammation.
The cause of the disease is still unclear; however, researchers suggest that it is possibly a result of some type of infection. Adult Still’s disease may occur in only one episode or become a persistent or recurring condition.
Any combination of the following symptoms can be a sign of Adult Still’s disease:
- Sore throat: sore throat is one of the primary symptoms of adult Still’s disease and it can also appear with swollen lymph nodes.
- Fever: A fever spike of at least 102F (38.9 C) may occur daily for a period of one week or longer. The fever spike is not constant but occurs once or twice a day.
- Rash: A salmon-colored rash may appear along with the fever usually on the torso and/or the limbs. Physical contact such as skin rubbing can provoke the rash to appear.
- Swollen joints and joint pain: The joints such as the wrists, ankles, knees, elbows and shoulders can become stiff and painful as a result of an inflammation. The joint pain usually lasts around two weeks.
- Muscle pain: In this condition the muscle pain is usually associated with the fever although the pain could become severe enough to disrupt daily activities.
The cause for adult Still’s disease is unknown; however, it is believed that it may be triggered by a bacterial or viral infection.
The main risk factor for adult Still’s disease is age. The disease has two occurrences in adults: first in the age between 15 and 25 and then again from 36 to 46 years. Both genders have equally the same risk of developing the disease. Furthermore, multiple cases from the same family are rare thus it is not likely that the disease is hereditary.
The symptom of joint inflammation is the main cause for most of the complications from adult Still’s disease.
- Joint destruction: Chronic joint inflammation can damage the joints. The most affected joints are the knees and wrists. Other joints may be affected but less often.
- Inflammation of the heart: The disease can lead to inflammation of the sac-like covering the heart (pericarditis) or the muscular area of the heart (myocarditis).
- Excess fluid around the lungs: The inflammation can spread to the area around the lungs and cause fluid to build up making it hard to breathe or take deep breaths.