What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing Spondylitis is an arthritis type which affects the spine. The condition can become a major reason for pain, stiffness, and inflammation that affects the neck as well as the lower back. When you suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis condition, the vertebrae that is present in your spine fuses together. This condition makes the spine evidently less flexible and may lead to a posture which is hunched and may in turn be the reason for breathing troubles. Early diagnosis and effective treatment of the Ankylosing Spondylitis can be the reason to control the condition and also prevent the problems from affecting.

Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis

  • Pain and muscle stiffness -You may be under constant pain and stiffness which affects the lower back, your buttocks, and the hips. It may continue for about 3 months or more. Ankylosing spondylitis is an issue which usually starts near the sacroiliac joints, this is the site where the sacrum, which is the lowest major area of the spine, joins the pelvis bone which is the ilium bone present in the lower back area. It might be a little painful, some people complaint of more pain during the night which eventually gets better as soon as you wake up. You might also feel pain in other joints like the knees, shoulders, as well as that of jaw.
  • Bony fusion – Ankylosing spondylitis can be a major reason for overgrowth of the bones, this may become a cause of abnormal joining of the bones, which is called “bony fusion.” The fusion affects the bones present on the neck, back, or the hips which may affect the ability you hold to perform your everyday things. The fusion of the ribs to the area of the spine or the breastbone which may be the reason for limiting the ability you hold to expand the chest when you take deep breath.
  • Pain in the ligaments and tendon region. The condition of Spondylitis which may affect the ligaments and some of the tendons which are attached to the bones. Inflammation in the tendon which is known as Tendinitis may also administer upon pain and muscle stiffness in the region behind and beneath the heel, such as the condition of Achilles Tendon.
  • The bent posture may pose as trouble If Ankylosing Spondylitis goes untreated and undiagnosed, you might be in a stooped posture with some changes to the vertebrae.
  • Changes in the posture may lead to some significant changes in the lungs which makes it harder to breathe.
  • Heart troubles which affect the health of your heart.
  • Eye problems may also be one of the symptoms which can occur due to Ankylosing Spondylitis. The usual and common symptoms are pain, light sensitivity, blurry vision, along with other visible symptoms of the eye.
  • Bowel disease may also occur, the health concern which can be affected is the digestive system. Belly pain, diarrhea, and some other stomach related issues.
  • People who suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis usually also show symptoms of Psoriasis. About 10% of the people who suffer from AS have reported immune system disease which may cause itchy red patched on the skin and scaly scalp.
  • Fatigue may be a common symptom which may occur due to lack of sleep and pain in the part of the process of disease.
  • You might feel symptoms of mild fever taking over you.
  • You may administer swelling of toes or fingers.

Over the course of years, Ankylosing Spondylitis may grow a new bone on your spine, which fuses with the vertebrae and this makes it harder to move. This can cause severe level of stiffness. About half of the people who suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis gets osteoporosis, or maybe causing brittle bones.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Causes and Risk Factors

Several things which make Ankylosing Spondylitis more likely:

  • The age of the person matters and it tends to show the signs of the spondylitis which start anywhere between your teens to the 30s.
  • Men may be two to three times more prone to administering the disease as compared to women.
  • You can also inherit this issue and complication from your parents. One gene, which is called the HLA-B27, is a common aspect faced by the people with AS.
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis is more often present amongst the native tribes of the the U.S. and Canada region, especially the Alaskan Eskimos.

Types of Ankylosing Spondylitis

There are majorly two types of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

  • Axial Ankylosing Spondylitis may be a reason of lower back pain.
  • Peripheral Ankylosing Spondylitis causes pain and swelling in joints other than your spine.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Diagnosis and Tests

Initially the doctor will first look for the signs and symptoms of severe back pain which is caused by inflammation, for instance:

  • The back pain which started in the 20s and 30s is still persistent.
  • Atleast 3 months or more of back pain.
  • Pain which worsens post the resting period.
  • Pain which gets better in case you exercise or indulge in strenuous activities or move around a bit.
  • Pain and stiffness which is in response to the anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.

The doctor will administer some regular tests on the patient to understand the symptoms more and better. Signs of inflammation which is present in the joints or limits the back movement may also be witnessed. The doctor will enquire about the medical history and try to figure out whether your parents or related people have had any condition. You may go and visit a specialist, the specialist in this case is called a rheumatologist who is essentially a doctor for arthritis condition who diagnoses and treats the condition of AS.

What Are the Treatments?

Most medications used as a correct treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis are the ones which may stop the occurrence of inflammation even before it is initiated and starts to damage the joints or the organs like the eyes. The treatments are inclusive of:

  • Ibuprofen which is an anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen, meloxicam, and indomethacin.
  • Methotrexate and sulfasalazine is the disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug which makes the treatment procedure easy.

Surgery can help a curved spine or neck as well as damaged knees and hips.

Are there alternative treatments for AS?

Ask the doctor how these techniques are related to your treatment and can help you ease the pain and stiffness:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Yoga
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

Prognosis for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis shouldn’t affect the longevity of the patient. You may experience some mild back pain which comes and goes. But if the disease is a little severe, the spine may get curved or stiffen over the course of time and may get fused.

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