Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease and is more common in teenagers. Its signs start appearing in early adulthood. Treatments can help reduce symptoms and slows the progression of the disease. This blog will share fascinating insights on it.
- Ankylosing spondylitis is a hereditary disease and is more common among men.
- People with ankylosing spondylitis may experience lower back pain, inflammation, and vision problems.
- Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and psoriasis can also cause AS.
- Imaging scans and blood reports help doctors in the diagnosis procedure.
- In severe cases, doctors recommend patients undergo joint replacement surgery or kyphoplasty.
What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis is also known as Bechterew disease. It is a kind of arthritis that affects the back, causing severe inflammation. This inflammation is one of the first symptoms of having AS.
It spreads to the joints between the vertebrae and the bones, making the spinal column.
The body produces extra calcium around the spinal cord in response to the inflammation. It will lead to additional bone growth and stiffen your neck and back.
This condition is more prevalent in young adults and teenagers. It is also two times more common among men as compared to women. It is a hereditary disease and may run in families.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Symptoms
Ankylosing spondylitis usually starts to develop in the sacroiliac joint. It is the point where your spine connects with your pelvis. As a result, it can affect the place where ligaments and tendons attach to the bones.
In some cases, people may mistake AS for common lower backache.
Common backache is usually short-term and relieves pain within a few days. But ankylosing spondylitis pain is prone to last for a longer time.
If you experience it, you may also have:
- 1. Lower back pain
- 2. Inflammation
- 3. Stiffness
- 4. Hip pain
- 5. Joint pain
- 6. Abdominal pain
- 7. Neck pain
- 8. Difficulty while breathing
- 9. Fatigue
- 10. Weight loss
- 11. Diarrhea
- 12. Skin rash
- 13. Vision problems
What Causes Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Scientists and experts are not sure what causes ankylosing spondylitis. But they believe it is a hereditary disease and related to your genes.
A gene named HLA-B27 is the cause. It tells your immune system to attack some bacteria in your body, leading to AS symptoms.
There is a 1 in 2 chance you will pass the HLA-B27 gene to your children if you have AS. According to a report, almost 5-20% of the children with this gene are prone to develop this condition.
If you suffer from one of these conditions, you are at a higher risk of developing AS.
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
Ankylosing Spondylitis Diagnosis
Not a single test has ever diagnosed Ankylosing Spondylitis thoroughly. Because it is a complex procedure as many people have back pain as its prime symptom. Your healthcare provider will perform a physical examination after analyzing your family history.
To help you make an accurate diagnosis, your provider may ask you to undergo the following tests:
Imaging scans: MRI scans can detect spine issues in time. Your doctor may still ask you to have X-rays of your spine.
Blood tests: Doctors perform Blood tests to check for the presence of the HLA-B27 gene.
Treatment Options for Ankylosing Spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic condition that lasts a lifetime. While there is no cure, therapies and treatments can help lessen long-term problems like joint degeneration and pain. But, staying active is also one of the critical factors to control AS.
Treatments options include:
Regular exercise helps to stop the progression of the disease. Inactive people often experience more pain and discomfort.
Movement also helps to reduce pain. Your healthcare physician might recommend safe exercises, considering the severity of the condition.
2. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs):
NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, help patients relieve pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
For temporary pain relief and inflammation, doctors recommend injectable corticosteroids.
4. Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs):
Several medications help to reduce chronic pain and joint swelling.
DMARDs, including tumor necrosis factor and interleukin inhibitors, are also effective. They help control inflammation by changing the immune system. These drugs also treat injuries caused due to inflammatory bowel disease.
5. Physical Therapy
You must practice good posture and stretch tight muscles to ease AS symptoms. Keeping your spine firm and applying other pain-relieving strategies can also help in relieving pain.
Most people find it beneficial to work with a trained physical therapist or in a group setting.
In severe cases, people experiencing ankylosing spondylitis may need surgery. Your provider will suggest:
- Joint replacement surgery to implants an artificial joint.
- Kyphoplasty for correcting a curved spine.
Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Ankylosing Spondylitis
Besides typical AS treatment, some simple lifestyle changes can help to reduce inflammation and pain:
- Start eating a nutritious and healthy diet. Fried foods, processed meats, high-fat and high-sugar diets can all cause inflammation. Anti-inflammatory diets may be beneficial in the fight against inflammation.
- Obesity and excess weight places pressure on your joints and bones. Keep a healthy weight, so your joints aren’t under as much stress.
- Avoiding too much alcohol consumption can be helpful. It can weaken your bones and put you at risk for osteoporosis.
- It is advisable to quit smoking. Tobacco can damage the spine and increase pain.
- Try to manage stress through yoga, massage, meditation, and counseling.