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Monthly Archives: July 2017

Understanding HIV


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What is HIV?

HIV is an ellipsis for human immunodeficiency virus. It is a virus that provender in the human body fluids such as blood, breast milk, saliva and the sexual fluids. The virus prompts Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDs). The virus targets your immune system, therefore, weakening it and weakens the way your body would fight other common viruses, fungi, germs and other assailants causing diseases.

How HIV is spread

HIV is often spread by having unprotected sex with the folk who is infected with HIV. It is also spread through unsupervised childbirth, blood transfusion, and deep kissing. The researchers have identified that a person who is HIV-positive can pass the virus within the first week of infection throughout their lifetime. Once you contact the virus, it will multiply in your blood leading to what is referred to as ‘the viral load.’ This Viral load will reduce CD4 counts in your white blood cell hence weakening the strength of these cells in fighting the HIV together with other diseases which manifest into your body. If the Virus is not properly managed and no prior treatments are accorded, it will eventually lead to AIDS.

What Are the Stages of HIV Infection?

As indicated earlier, if you don’t treat the HIV, it will advance in various stages, taking control of your immune system and develops into AIDS. These stages are; acute HIV infection, clinical latency, and finally AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Acute HIV Infection Stage

The first stage of HIV infection is the Acute HIV. This is the period of two to four weeks of infection. During this period, many folks develop symptoms which are flu-like symptoms. Other Symptoms may include swollen glands, sore throat, fever, rashes, and pain in the joints and muscles, and most likely severe headache. This stage is sometimes referred to as acute retro-viral syndrome (ARS) or primary HIV infection. In this stage, the body is going under natural reaction to the virus. Medics advise that people who see these symptoms should seek medical attention right away since they can get the much-needed cure.

It is at this stage that a large amount of virus is produced. This virus load destroys the CD4 cells in the body. The white blood cell will respond by producing more CD4 cells, but it will not go back to the prior counts. Further, throughout this period, you are exposed to the risk of transmitting this infection to other people. Thus, you are advised to take appropriate medical steps to reduce this risk.

Clinical Latency Stage

Immediately after the acute retro-viral syndrome, the virus leads to the clinical latency stage. During this period, the virus will continue to reproduce in your body without necessarily showing any symptom. The virus may not be detected at this juncture even with the standard laboratory tests. People at this stage are still able to transmit the virus: however, the risk is significantly abridged.

AID is the last stage of HIV which severely destroys the immune system. If you are taking ART, you can live for many years without advancing into the AIDs. Those who are not on ART can still live to a maximum of 10 years. However, research shows that others may advance into AIDs faster. During the virus evolution, the viral load continues to increase leading to an ensuing diminution in the CD4 counts.

How do we prevent HIV transmission?

The perfect channel for Preventing and Controlling the transmission of HIV is by getting tested and revealing your status to the uninfected person. Using condoms for protected sex or simply abstaining is also recommended.



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Understanding Cataract


Image is from Medical News Today

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens that filters light in your eye. Cataracts can interfere with your vision and can slowly develop over time or can enlarge quite suddenly. Cataracts are often diagnosed on routine eye exams, but sudden changes in vision should be reported to an eye doctor.

Symptoms of a Cataract

Signs and symptoms of cataracts can vary depending on the size of the cataract and how far advanced at is. Some of the most common symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurry or clouded vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Problems with glares
  • Frequent eyeglass and contact lens prescription changes
  • Clouding of the middle part of the eye
  • Halo effect when looking at lights
  • Double vision in only one eye
  • Needing increased light to do activities such as reading, sewing, or puzzles

A cataract may start as a small spot of blurry vision in your eye and get noticeably worse as time goes on. Regular check-ups with your doctor will help to track the development of the cataract and come up with a proper treatment plan.

What Causes Cataracts?

While cataracts typically develop as you age, there are other issues that can lead to cataracts. Injuries to your eye or surgical procedures can damage the lens of your eye leading to cataracts later in life. Genetics and long-term medical conditions such as diabetes also increase your risk of developing cataracts.

Types of Cataracts

There are four different types of cataracts that you may be diagnosed with. These usually differ by how they develop as well as their location.

Nuclear Cataracts

A nuclear cataract usually begins with a disturbance in your near-sighted vision. As the cataract develops, it will become yellow and more cloudy before becoming brown and will eventually cause a disturbance in both close and far vision.

Cortical Cataracts

Cortical cataracts will begin as white streaks throughout the lens that will eventually spread to the middle, causing more vision disturbance as more light is blocked.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

This type of cataract typically starts a small opaque area towards the back part of the lens that sits directly in the pathway of the light trying to come through. Posterior subcapsular cataracts will often spread quicker than most and tend to affect reading vision and vision in bright lights. It often creates halos and glare issues.

Congenital Cataracts

Congenital cataracts are ones that a child is born with or they develop sometime during their childhood. This can often be the result of genetics, infection in the uterus, trauma, or medical conditions such as rubella or myotonic dystrophy.

Cataract Surgery

If your cataracts begin to interfere with your ability to read, drive, or perform routine daily activities, cataract surgery may be the best option for you. During the cataract surgery, the doctor will remove your clouded lens and replace it with a new clear lens that will significantly improve your vision.

Cataract surgery is very safe and is an outpatient procedure that does not require a hospital stay. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits or surgery with you if it is the recommended course of action.

While cataracts can cause significant problems with everyday life, they are most often treatable with surgery. If you have any vision disturbance or think that you may have a cataract, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.


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Hepatitis Causes and Prevention


Image is from National Hemophilia Foundation

Hepatitis means inflammation of a person’s liver cells due to an injury to the liver. There are different types of hepatitis you can get that can be determined through a laboratory test. Hepatitis can heal on its own without the need of treatment, but in some cases, treatment is necessary since the virus causes a chronic infection. The main types of hepatitis are A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A, B, and C cause the most liver damage.

Hepatitis can be a symptom of another disease, and it is mainly a symptom of autoimmune diseases. The hepatitis is a disease that is mainly caused by a viral infection. Hepatitis often starts as an acute disease but can progress and become chronic if not detected early. The disease can cause liver cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer to the patient.

Causes of Hepatitis

Hepatitis can be caused by toxins from drugs, alcohol or other sources of toxins. It can also be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the liver. However, the most known common cause of hepatitis is a virus.

Hepatitis A and E are short term viral infections that are mainly transmitted through water or food that is contaminated by human or animal waste. Other sources of these forms of hepatitis include under cooked food or raw food that has not been handled in a hygienic way.

Hepatitis B can be spread through having direct contact with infected blood. It can also be sexually transmitted or spread to a child during childbirth.

Hepatitis C can be spread through direct contact with infected blood. It is rare for the disease to be spread from mother to child during childbirth or during sexual intercourse.

Hepatitis D can also be spread through infected blood. However, you can only get hepatitis D if you were infected with hepatitis B. Those who are at the greatest risk of getting the infection include drug users since most share needles. Other at-risk groups include those who have unprotected sex with multiple partners.


New cases of hepatitis have been significantly reduced through vaccinations. There are vaccines available for prevention of hepatitis A and B. the vaccinations are effective in reducing the number of infections in children as well as adults.

Currently, there is no vaccine for hepatitis D. however; the disease can be prevented once you get immunized for hepatitis B.

Babies who are delivered to mothers suffering from hepatitis B should get the vaccine within 12 hours of birth to prevent them from getting infections.

Other things that can be done to prevent infection include the following:

  • Washing your hands and encouraging other people to do the same with water and soap after changing a diaper, after coming from using the bathroom and before handling any food.
  • Avoid eating raw foods from unknown places and always drink bottled, boiled or chemically treated water.
  • Practice safe sex. Using condoms goes a long way in preventing the spread of the infection.
  • Do not share sharp objects or toothbrushes.
  • When performing first aid, always wear gloves.
  • Disinfect all blood spills and wear gloves when cleaning up any body fluids.
  • Seek regular prenatal care when you are pregnant.

To reduce the risk of getting a non-viral type of hepatitis, avoid taking excessive alcohol. Also, consult a physician before starting a new prescription and on taking supplements. Hepatitis is a disease that needs to be taken seriously as it can cause severe damage to your liver.


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2017 Costa Layman Health Fair

What is the Costa Layman Health Fair?


PMLS Community Service Project

All the workers at this farm are given the opportunity to participate in the Multi-Specialty Daylong Event. We start at 7 am:

They Visit Separate Stations:

  1. BioMetrics

BP( Blood Pressure screenings)

BMI ( body mass index)



  1. Laboratory Visit Blood work for:

BMP/A1c/Vitamin D/Lipid /HIV – (testing provided by the Ryan White Program)

** AU Residents & Local  Physicians review all results with employees

  1. Vision Screening
  2. Dental Exam
  3. Physical Therapy

Hand Grip testing

  1. Bone Density Screenings
  2. Pulmonary

Pulmonary Functions testing

Sleep Apnea

  1. Body Mechanics Classes

How to lift properly

  1. Nutrition

Dietary Suggestions


Each year, for the past 12 years, students from the College of Nursing at Augusta University and other departments from the School of Medicine at Augusta University hold a health fair for local farm workers at Costa Layman Farms in Trenton, SC.

Impacting over three thousand people, this health fair offers medical help to those who otherwise would not be able to afford it. This fair consists of screenings and follow ups for each of the patients. The benefit of this fair is endless for both students and patients. The patients receive screening for tests which can catch problems early and checkups. The students get to learn and have hands on experience for their careers, but furthermore learn how to plan and redesign an event of this magnitude.

For the past 4 years, Premier Medical has had the privilege of being a part of this day. April Rice, Implementation Specialist for Premier Medical, states “This is an honor to give back to the community & offer medical care to a group of individuals who wouldn’t normally have this variety of care because their financial situation or the lack of medical insurance. The workers at Costa Layman Farms are always welcoming & excited to have this opportunity.” All of the workers at the farm are given the opportunity to be a part of this daylong event. Patients visits separate stations varying from biometrics to blood work to a dental exam, for a total of 9 different stations. April Rice, on behalf of Premier Medical, had the opportunity to help out at the laboratory station where she drew blood to test for BMP, A1c, Vitamin D, Lipid, and HIV. Norman Crawford and Hayden Hutchison of partner companies Vessel Medical, Premier Medical, and CPT held a booth to inform of the services offered and hand out marketing material for these companies. April Rice further states, “I just want to say thank you again to our Management Team for allowing us to continue to support this project. It is truly a wonderful feeling to see how thankful this group of people are for this service.”

Understanding Sickle cell

Microscopic view of sicke cells causing anemia disease.

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There are many kinds of diseases that are associated with blood. Some are contagious diseases. Others are developed within the body because of lifestyle or unhealthy habits. On the other hand, there are also such diseases that are inherited, and one of these diseases is sickle cell.

What Is Sickle Cell Disease?

Sickle cell disease or SCD is a red blood cell disorder that is passed on from parents to children. This red blood cell is identified as sickle hemoglobin or hemoglobin S. There are many people with abnormal hemoglobin such as hemoglobin S, but the most common type of SCD is hemoglobin SS or sickle-cell anemia.


Our body tissues require oxygen, and this is being supplied by our hemoglobin or red blood cells throughout our body. Since hemoglobin has a round shape, it becomes flexible enough to easily flow through blood vessels. It’s soft and elastic, so it can fit freely flow along with other red blood cells.

Meanwhile, sickle cell has a sickle shape similar with that of a leech. Inside the sickle cell, there are strands that form such a shape, and these stands are hard. As a result, sickle cells don’t easily flow through blood vessels. Instead, they stick to the wall and block the blood vessel. Because of this, the supply of oxygen to our tissues are slowed down or even blocked completely.

When your body tissues don’t have enough supply of oxygen, you may suffer from severe pain crises. Such pain comes without early signs or warning, and this usually ends up being sent to the hospital for immediate treatment. In some cases, it can also harm or damage organs such as lungs, heart, brain, kidneys, and liver.


SCD is only inherited from a parent as it’s not contagious nor developed overtime. Nevertheless, the probability of inheriting sickle cell disease is low because even if your parent has SCD doesn’t necessarily mean you have also inherited it. There are factors that affect the transfer of SCD such as another parent’s condition. This means that both parents should have SCD in order to pass it on to their children. If only one of the parents has SCD, the disease will not be passed down.


There are different symptoms of sickle cell disease, and they vary from one patient to another depending on health condition. Nonetheless, these are some common symptoms you should observe:

  • Eye Problems
  • Slow Growth
  • Infections
  • Swelling
  • Pain

Swelling takes place in hands and feet; however, chronic pain is usually experienced by young adults who have SCD. If not managed properly, it may lead to bone damage and ulcers. Meanwhile, vision problems happen when eyes have the lack the supply of blood as a result of sickle cell blockage.

When You Should See a Doctor

Symptoms may be a false sign or just a sign of another different disease. It’s difficult to predict until you see a doctor. Visit a doctor if you see and experience the following signs:

  • Yellow Skin
  • Frequent Fever
  • Abnormal Swelling
  • Episodes of Pain


The only cure for SCD is stem-cell transplant or bone marrow transplant. However, it has a lot of challenges to do so. Aside from the fact that it is difficult to find a donor, only those who are16 years old or below are able to undergo such an operation. Moreover, the operation is risky, and it sometimes leads to death. Nevertheless, antibiotics are administered to cure the crises or pain.



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Uses / Impacts of Cord Blood


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You’ve likely heard about stem cells, given the contentious debate regarding its usage. What cannot be denied, however, is that it is immensely useful in the treatment of more than 80 different serious diseases. In a time when general medicine still struggles to keep pace with the growing numbers of cancer patients and people with immunodeficiency disorders, cord blood has proven to be a viable alternative in clinical trials.

What, Exactly, Is Cord Blood

Cord blood refers to blood from the umbilical cord of a baby. These early cells have very special properties that are absent in adult cells: they can self-renew and self-repair. Given that a majority of diseases are actually affectations on the cellular level, this property of self-repair is hugely beneficial in the treatment of such ailments.

The current status of cord blood treatment is that they are largely relegated to research laboratories and clinical trials. The hope – which has been realized with varying degrees of success already – is that cord blood will prove essential in the development of therapies for some major illnesses.

What Is the Record of Application and Success So Far?

In the past 2.5 decades, the stem cells from cord blood have been used to treat 80+ diseases and medical conditions. Many of these issues have no other current treatment, and include such debilitating conditions such as cerebral palsy, leukemia and neuroblastoma. To date, the 30,000 – and counting – cord blood transplants have been approved to treat:

  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – which is a specific type of cancer that originates in the bloodstream and adversely affects the lymph nodes
  • A cluster of disorders that target the metabolic system as well as the contribute to immunodeficiencies; such as Hunter syndrome, Osteopetrosis, Sickle Cell Anemia and Lesch Nyhan syndrome
  • Neuroblastoma, Medulloblastoma and other malignant tumors such as Retinoblastoma
  • Cancers that target the blood immune system – such as Leukemia, which is responsible for nearly 60,000 deaths per day as of 2017. Stem cells from cord blood have proved useful in treating all forms and stages of leukemia and related blood cancers

The Next Stage of Cord Blood Usage

The dozens of trials in process all around the world continue to produce very positive results; in fact, the approval of each new one is contingent on the success of the previous phases. In particular, many of the newer illnesses that the recuperative powers of stem cells from cord blood endow include:

  • Lupus
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Graft vs Host Disease
  • Multiple types of encephalopathy

Trial after trial has shown that patients who undergo cord blood therapy, and combine this treatment with regularly scheduled health check-ups and good diets show a markedly improved quality of life.

The Method of Treatment

The method of treatment is simply the normal blood transfusion; except using cord blood. The self-repairing stem cells contained therein progress through the patient’s blood stream, and perform their healing touch, so to speak, on the tissue and cells with which they come into contact. The overall effect of this is to essentially create a new, well-functioning immune system capable of warding off immune-related illnesses the same way a healthy person’s system does.

The cord blood that you, for example, would use, will be taken from either your child or a sibling. The recommended person is actually up to the specific type of disease, and your physician’s analysis. For example, cancers are best treated (usually) using cord blood from your baby; whereas inherited genetic diseases employ a sibling’s cord blood.


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Hepatitis Types & Significance


Hepatitis Types

Hepatitis in the inflammation of the liver and can be caused by many different conditions and illnesses. Hepatitis is caused by viruses that target the liver. There are different types of hepatitis viruses, and they can all cause acute hepatitis. There are several types of hepatitis viruses, and infections including A, B, C, D, E and G. Hepatitis A to E are the main types that have been discovered. Hepatitis G is a recent discovery and research is still being conducted to find out if there are other hepatitis viruses out there. Hepatitis viruses multiply in the liver and prevent it from carrying out its functions. Here is an overview of the hepatitis viruses.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A causes an acute illness that rarely becomes chronic. It can easily be spread among people just like other viral infections. The virus can be spread through ingestion of water or food from places where the conditions are unsanitary. It occurs in places where the water or food is contaminated with human waste that contains the virus. It can also be spread through sharing bodily fluids and spreads fast among people who do not observe good hygiene.

There are vaccines for preventing hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B was initially thought it only be spread through infected blood. However, it can also be spread through sexual intercourse. Hepatitis B can be spread through sharing piecing or cutting objects and also from infected mothers to their newborn babies.

Although it starts as an acute infection, hepatitis B can turn chronic and cause liver cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.

There is a vaccine used for the prevention of hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C initially did not have a specific cause since it was different from A and B. it is spread through sharing needles and other piercing objects, blood transfusions, needle sticks and hemodialysis. Transmission through sexual intercourse is rare. The majority of people having an acute HCV infection develop a chronic infection and can continue infecting others as long as they have the virus.

Hepatitis D

Hepatitis D is also referred to as agent or delta virus. The reason is that the virus requires the presence of hepatitis B for it to survive and thrive. The mode of spreading is through direct contact with infected blood and also through sexual intercourse just like hepatitis B.

The virus requires the presence of hepatitis B since there is a protein HBV makes that makes HDV have the ability to multiply in the liver cells.

A combination of HBV and HDV is difficult to treat and causes rapid liver cirrhosis. Those who have both develop a chronic infection rapidly.

You can acquire the two at the same time or acquire HDV when you already have HDV.

Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E is similar to HAV regarding symptoms and disease. However, HEV occurs mainly in Asia where it thrives in places where there is contaminated water.

Hepatitis G

Hepatitis G is similar to hepatitis C in many ways. It is abbreviated as HGV or GBV-C. It was recently discovered, and test are still being carried out for the virus. The role of the virus in causing an infection is still unclear although those who have the virus develop symptoms of Hepatitis C.

Non-infectious Hepatitis

Noninfectious hepatitis is not caused by viruses. However, this form of hepatitis can be caused by the following:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption that causes alcoholic hepatitis.
  • Bodily response to drugs or drug misuse/abuse
  • Auto immune response where the body’s immune system attacks the liver cells thinking it is a harmful object.


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Causes of Group B Strep



What is Group B Strep?

Group B strep are bacteria that can colonize in the vagina, rectal, and intestinal area of healthy adults and pregnant women. Statistically, about 25% of all healthy adults will at one time have a GBS infection.

While pregnant women do not often show symptoms of a GBS infection, there is a risk that they can transmit the infection to their newborn baby. Once transmitted, some newborns may develop complication which can cause pneumonia, meningitis, and even sepsis, so infants who are at risk need to be monitored. The best way to prevent this is through early detection in the mother and administration of antibiotics to treat it.

Group B Strep infections can also occur in nonpregnant adults who suffer from chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, or cancer. Typically those over 65 are at higher risk, but the incident rates of GBS infection in nonpregnant adults has been steadily increasing throughout the years.

Causes of Group B Strep

Healthy people can carry Group B Strep in their body at any time, it can also come and go or can stay permanently.

GBS can be found in some pregnant women and if not treated can pass to their newborns. When newborns contract Group B Strep infection in the first week of life it is called early onset. For babies who are 1 to 3 weeks of age when they develop the disease, it is termed late-onset.

How Can Group B Strep be Transmitted?

Group B Strep is transmitted by a pregnant mother to their babies during a vaginal birth. Typically mothers who test positive will be given antibiotics during delivery to reduce the risk of transmission. This will occur in about 50% of mothers who have an active infection during birth.

Out of this 50%, only about 100 to 200 of these babies born will develop a GBS infection requiring treatment.

Who’s at Higher Risk for Group B Strep?

When it comes to having Group B Strep, the incident rates are higher among African Americans than Caucasians. While there are not many statistical differences with a mother becoming a GBS carrier, there are some instances where there is a higher risk of transmission to the infant, including:

  • Early onset of labor
  • Fever during labor and delivery
  • An active urinary tract infection
  • Premature rupture of the membranes
  • Previous Group B Strep infection
  • Positive GBS culture after 35 weeks or pregnancy

Symptoms of GBS Infection

When an active Group B Strep infection is present, there can be some symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Some of the symptoms to watch out for include.

In Newborns

  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Bluish color
  • limpness
  • Stiffness
  • Breath complications
  • Diarrhea
  • Fussiness
  • Problems with heart rate and blood pressure
  • Problems feeding

In Adults

  • Skin infections
  • Sepsis
  • Lung infection
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Meningitis
  • Joint infections

Treatment of GBS

While the most common form of treatment is to treat the mother with antibiotics during labor to prevent the transmission, once contracted a GBS infection is typically treated with IV antibiotics and sometimes a surgical procedure if a bone or joint infection is present.

While GBS infections can result in severe complications, they are often preventable in newborns with routine maternal screening which makes prenatal care essential to protecting your newborn against such infections.


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Causes and Symptoms of Juvenile Arthritis


Image is from Arthritis Foundation Blog

Juvenile arthritis is a disease that affects children ages 16 and under, and it involves inflammation of the tissue that lines the inside of the joints. This tissue is called synovium.

What are the Causes?

Most forms of juvenile arthritis are caused by a malfunction of the immune system, which places it in the category of autoimmune disorders. An autoimmune disorder occurs when the body attacks it’s own healthy cells and tissues. The result is inflammation of the synovium.

However, not all cases of juvenile arthritis are autoimmune. Another cause is labeled an autoinflammatory condition. The disease process behind an autoinflammatory condition is different from that of an autoimmune disorder.

While autoinflammatory conditions result in inflammation and involve an overactive immune system, the similarities between it and an autoimmune disease end there. With an autoimmune response, the body releases proteins called autoantibodies that attack the body. An autoinflammatory condition involves a more primitive part of the immune system, and the reason it malfunctions remains unknown.

What is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is the commonly accepted term for the seven different types of arthritis that affect children. These are:

  • Systemic
  • Oligoarticular
  • Polyarticular with a negative Rheumatoid factor
  • Polyarticular with a positive Rheumatoid factor
  • Psoriatic
  • Enthesitis-related
  • Undifferentiated

What are the Symptoms of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?

General symptoms include:

  • Joint pain
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Warmth
  • Swelling

These symptoms last for more than six continuous weeks. The following symptoms are specific to each type of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis:

  • Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis – Arthritis symptoms with or preceded by an intermittent fever that lasts for at least two weeks. One or more of the following symptoms accompany it: lymph node, liver, or spleen enlargement, inflammation of the lining of the lungs or heart, a flat, pale, pink rash that does not itch and can move from one part of the body to another.
  • Oligoarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis – Arthritis affecting one to four joints for the first six months of the disease.
  • Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (Negative Rheumatoid Factor) – Arthritis in at least five joints for the first six months of the disease and all tests for the presence of Rheumatoid Factor proteins are negative.
  • Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (Positive Rheumatoid Factor) – Arthritis in at least five joints for the first six months of the disease and two out of three tests for the presence of Rheumatoid Factor proteins are positive. Tests must be taken at least three months apart.
  • Psoriatic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis – Patient has both arthritis and psoriasis or arthritis and at least two of the following: a relative diagnosed with psoriasis, nail splitting or pitting, or inflammation of one entire toe or finger.
  • Enthesitis-related Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis – This occurs where a joint capsule, tendon, or ligament attaches to the bone. The most common locations are the Achilles tendon behind the ankle and around the knee. Both arthritis and inflammation must be present or either one with at least two of the following: inflammation of the sacroiliac joint with inflammatory bowel disease or acute inflammation of the eye, enthesitis arthritis, arthritis in males over six years, a positive HLA blood test, a family history of ankylosing spondylitis, or inflammation at the base of the spine or in the lower back area.
  • Undifferiented Arthritis – Symptoms do not fit with any of the six previous categories.

Researchers now believe that both environmental and genetics play a part in the development of juvenile arthritis.


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Importance of National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness & Prevention Month


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This entire month is national cleft and craniofacial awareness and prevention month. July is a time to draw awareness, funding and support for the hundreds of infants and teens afflicted with congenital issues like cleft lip and cleft palates.

Many adults likewise suffer from cleft and craniofacial disorders through sometimes life-threatening conditions of the craniofacial region as well as trauma. A car accident, for example, could leave an individual suffering from a cleft palate, otherwise known as an opening in the mouth and lip.

These kinds of issues can erode the self-esteem of children and adolescents and cause significant developmental issues. Cleft and lip palates have been associated with breathing issues as well as some problems with language development and proper speech.

Appreciating the Differences and Encouraging Support

Some craniofacial defects are caused by abnormalities during gestational development. These kinds of defects break down into two broad categories – orofacial clefts and craniosynostosis.

The former – orofacial clefts – is characterized by the mouth and lip not forming as they should whereas the latter occurs when a young baby’s bones meld together too early for proper development to take hold.

In terms of craniofacial issues beyond cleft lip and cleft palates, national cleft and craniofacial awareness and prevention month is about drawing attention and funding towards issues like anotia (where the external part of the ear is absent) and microtia (characterized by a deformation in the external portion of someone’s ear).

  • Early Treatment is Highly Beneficial

Although treatments can vary somewhat depending on the age and health of the child, as well as the medical severity of the issue and lifestyle impairments (e.g., breathing issues), appreciating the pain and struggle that these disorders can cause is important.

Just cleft lip and cleft palate issues account for over 4,000 new cases of craniofacial issues in infants every single year. Cleft palates account for over 2,700 new cases annually, and that number is only growing.

Many of these issues are completely treatable and incredible charities like Smile Train and put in place so that everyday people can make a small contribution that can literally change lives.

If possible, these issues should really be treated early since doing so can mitigate some of the detrimental effects of living with congenital or acquired craniofacial issues. These can include physical, developmental, and learning issues that can be severely reduced or eliminated entirely with the help of craniofacial surgeons and improvements in technology.

Many children afflicted with craniofacial issues like cleft lip and cleft palate are, tragically, teased for having the condition. Researchers from the University of Michigan found that children suffering for these conditions can face health and social problems.

On the health front, issues can range from an increased rate of dental issues and hearing problems (including ear infections) whereas social problems among children with craniofacial and cleft issues can range from issues pronouncing certain consonants in their everyday speech to school problems.

Researchers have long noted that children with cleft lip and cleft palate face an erosion of self-esteem in more severe cases and long gaps missed during the school year because of one or more surgeries to address the condition.

How Everyone Can Help: Treatment and Research Funding

There are a number of steps that you can take online, in your community, and through donations to chip away at the negative hold that these craniofacial and cleft disorders can have over too many children.

Asking your local city council or local house representative to include funding for research or simply making a small donation to ACPA can make a huge difference in a child’s life.


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