It is common for people who have an inflammatory or autoimmune disease to develop another autoimmune disease. Doctors sometime refer to this as overlapping with another autoimmune disease. This means that they have symptoms of other diseases and conditions that do not fit directly within their main diagnosis. Sometimes they will develop a second disease, such as fibromyalgia. When this happens, most doctors refer the fibromyalgia symptoms as being “secondary” to their main disease (Still’s.. RA).
There are many patients with Still’s who also suffer from fibromyalgia. “Fibro” is a painful condition, sometimes the pain can even be worse than the pain from the Still’s. We wanted to add information on fibro since it affects so many.
Also, some of the complications of medications that we have to take for Still’s can lead to other medical conditions such as osteoporosis and AVN. (Avascular Necrosis, meaning bone death) It is good to be aware of these conditions and what contributes to them. They are conditions that may be prevented if proper caution is taken when your doctor has you on long term steroid use. Prednisone is like a double edged sword, most of the time we need to take it to get the disease under control, especially the fevers and systemic symptoms. Some patients are made aware of the common side effects of prednisone; such as the “moon face”, increased appetite, acne, mood swings, excess facial hair, thinning of the skin. And while they are bad enough to have they aren’t critical. There are other effects of prednisone that are much more serious and this is why most doctors try their best to keep the steroids as low as possible and short term. Long term use, and even short term use with high doses can cause osteoporosis, diabetes, and avascular necrosis. Many, many people who require joint replacements actually need the replacement because they developed avn in the joint, blood supply was cut off and the bone died causing rough, wear and eroding the surface leading to pain and difficulty in mobility. It’s ironic with RA and still’s, they very thing you are trying to prevent, your joints from deteriorating, can actually be caused by the medication given to control the disease. AVN does not happen to everyone who takes prednisone in high doses or long term. But it is something to be aware of. There are other conditions that result in conjunction with Still’s disease and as a result of medications. Depression and Insomnia are but two.
The International Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis is committed to eliminating the adversity caused by autoimmune arthritis by uniting resources that will raise global awareness, providing wellness education and support, and promoting patient-centered research that will improve the quality of life for those affected by these diseases.
The International Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis are hosts of the World Autoimmune Arthritis Day event each year. It is an online virtual event that spans the globe over a period of days bringing together thousands with an interest in ALL autoimmune illnesses. The International Still’s Disease Foundation, Inc. also partnered with IFAA to develop the Still’s guidelines for the Early Symptoms of Autoimmune Arthritis – A Patient-Centered Study