While Still’s Disease is very similar to rheumatoid arthritis, there is a lot that is different between the two diseases. As much as I hate to say it, Still’s patients experience more side effects as their disease is systemic and can affect so much more in the body.
I tend to do a horrible job of distinguishing between the two, and use the terms interchangeably. But they aren’t the same disease. The same treatments can be effective, but then again they may not.
Here are some videos from Creaky Joints about Still’s Disease.
Just as a correction to BOTH doctors, (Sir) George Frederic Still is the one who discovered Still’s Disease. He also was one of the first – if not the first – doctor to describe ADHD. It’s probably tricky to remember how to say someone’s name right 😉
Still’s is the least common type of JRA (if you consider it that). Less than 20% of JRA patients have Still’s. Many go undiagnosed. Still’s affect boys and girls equally, where JRA affects girls more than boys. Onset often occurs before age 10, usually after an illness like Strep Throat or Scarlet Fever, etc. I got it after Strep and MMR immunizations, as did my sister.
Still’s presents with a fever and a rash. Both usually get worse at night, improving in the day time. The rash can be present one second, and gone the next. It itches like a bitch, and it doesn’t care if you’re at work or out with your friends – it shows up where and when it wants to.
The joint pain can be more intense than ‘normal’ JRA – I’m not making this up. Unlike JRA, Still’s doesn’t usually present with positive ANA (antinuclear antibody) or RF (rheumatoid factor). Neither of those are positive for me.
ESR, or Erythocyte Sedimentation Rate, measures the swelling in the body. Usually, this number is very high. Right now, I’m at 25 mm/hr. The normal range is 0-20. But at onset, this can be VERY high, like 50 or more.
It’s also hard for the body to keep holding onto proteins. For example, I’ve been losing protein in my urine since before I was diagnosed.
This last time, my labs are came back pretty awesome. Aside from protein in my urine and a slightly elevated sed rate, everything else was within acceptable levels.
So, why am I still in so much pain? And why do I have swelling?
I just don’t know.