Ankylosing Spondylitis

Overview

Ankylosing Spondylitis (also known as inflammatory disease) can lead to the fusion of small bones in the spine (vertebrae). The spine becomes less flexible, which can lead to a more upright posture. It can be difficult for you to breathe deeply if your ribs are damaged.

Men are more likely to experience ankylosing spondylitis than women. Symptoms usually begin in the early years of adulthood. Other parts of your body can also be affected by inflammation, most often your eyes.

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a condition that cannot be treated. However, there are treatments that can reduce your symptoms and slow down the progression.

Signs

Ankylosing Spondylitis may present as pain in the lower back or hips. This can be especially noticeable in the morning, after inactivity, and in other situations. Common symptoms include fatigue and neck pain. The symptoms may worsen over time or improve over time.

These are the most affected areas:

  • The joint between your base and your pelvis
  • Your lower back vertebrae
  • These are the places where your ligaments and tendons attach to bones. They are usually located in your spine but can also be found at your heel.
  • The cartilage between your breastbones and ribs
  • Your shoulder and hip joints

When should you see a doctor?

If you experience low back or buttock pain, especially if it is slowing getting worse with time or waking you up in the middle of the night, you should seek medical attention. If you experience a red, painful or severe light sensitivity, blurred vision, or a red eye that is red and itchy, consult an eye specialist immediately.

Causes

Although there is no cause for ankylosing spondylitis, genetic factors may be involved. People with the gene HLA-B27 have an increased chance of developing ankylosing Spondylitis. The condition is not common in all people.

Risk factors

  • Your sex. Ankylosing Spondylitis is more common in men than it is in women.
  • Your age. The majority of cases occur in the late adolescence to early adulthood.
  • Your inheritance. Ankylosing spondylitis is most commonly caused by the HLA-B27 genetic mutation. Many people with this gene do not develop ankylosing Spondylitis.

Complications

As part of the body’s healing process, severe ankylosing Spondylitis can cause new bone to form. The new bone bridges the space between vertebrae, eventually fused sections of vertebrae. These parts of your spine will become rigid and inflexible. The fusion can also cause a stiffening of your rib cage, which can limit your lung function and capacity.

There are other complications that could arise:

  • Eye inflammation (uveitis). Uveitis is one of the most common complications associated with ankylosing Spondylitis. It can cause eye pain, light sensitivity, blurred vision, and rapid-onset eye discomfort. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.
  • Compression fractures. Ankylosing Spondylitis can cause bones to become thinned in the beginning stages. Your stooped posture can be worsened by weakening vertebrae. Vertebral injuries can cause pressure to the spinal cord, and nerves passing through it.
  • Heart problems. Ankylosing Spondylitis can lead to problems in your aorta (the largest artery in your body). An inflamed or enlarged aorta can cause a disruption in the function of the heart’s aortic valve.

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