What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?
We define ankylosing spondylitis as a form of erosive arthritis. It mainly affects young men; approximately 1 in every 250 may experience the condition. The Ankylosing Spondylitis condition means the joint is fixed in place and unable to bend. When the spine becomes inflamed, it can then become solid and fixed in place. Ligaments attached to the spine become swollen, and after the swelling reduces, it’s replaced by growths of bone. The more this happens, the more that the tendons, ligaments and eventually the joint, fuse together.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Symptoms
People can experience this to various degrees and while some may barely notice it, for others the condition means they lose their independence. Ankylosing Spondylitis symptoms may come and disappear, but some people never know they have the condition until they have lower back pain and muscle spasms. They tend to get worse over time and feel worse during the night time. Eventually, this pain spreads to the upper back, neck and buttocks. Pain may also be experienced more during exercise. Without any kind of treatment, ankylosing spondylitis symptoms can develop and these include fever, fatigue, appetite loss and even weight loss.
When the spine starts fusing together, the more difficult and painful it can become to move around. As the joints are affected it can also make breathing difficult. This occurs because the ribs stop moving, so breathing occurs through the muscles of the diaphragm instead. One in three cases of Ankylosing Spondylitis may also cause eye inflammation.
What Causes Ankylosing Spondylitis?
The exact causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis remain unknown. It’s thought that HLA-B27 known as an antigen, may be the main reason why this condition appears to run in families. This antigen is also linked to a condition called Reites Syndrome – reactive arthritis that usually occurs after an infection, especially in the urogenital or gastrointestinal tract.]
Treatment For Ankylosing Spondylitis
Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis can flare-up for a period of time and then reduce significantly.
There are no drugs that can stop or slow the condition. Using Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Naproxen (Naprosyn) and Indomethacin (Indocin) prescribed by doctors can help to control inflammation, reducing pain in the process. However, some of these medications have been linked with gastrointestinal bleeding so it’s wise to use with caution.
Doing gentle exercises such as swimming or yoga can help to improve spine movement.This also helps to create better posture and may provide pain relief. Hydrotherapy and the use of physiotherapy can also help with relieving painful symptoms associated with the condition.
Eating a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables for is recommended their antioxidant benefits; drinking plenty of water, taking Omega-3 fatty acids, dietary supplements, and avoiding high-fat, high-cholesterol foods can all improve the condition.
Some people who experience Ankylosing Spondylitis may also require a joint replacement – although these cases are few and far between. By following the above factors on a daily basis, it’s possible to manage and reduce any painful symptoms of the condition.
Is there any cause of contract ankylosing spondylitis?
There is no exact known cause of how people contract ankylosing spondylitis, although heredity seems to be a key factor from research done so far. More specifically, people possessing the HLA-B27 gene have an increased chance of developing ankylosing spondylitis. While only 6% of the population carry this gene, it is found in an overwhelming 93% of those suffering from Ankylosing spondylitis.
If you recognise and suffer with any of these symptoms and you think you may have ankylosing spondylitis you should seek out help as soon as possible.
About Ankylosing Spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis has many other names such as - Bechterew's disease, poker back, Marie Strumpell disease, rheumatoid spondylitis, spondyloarthritis.
A chronic inflammatory disease which attacks the spine and the sacroiliac joints, causing arthritis. It can also cause fatigue, inflammation of the eyes, nflammation of the bowels, weight loss, and photosensitivity.
These symptoms vary and may eventually improve, or grow worse over time.
In some cases new bones have been known to grow in an attempt to heal the inflammations thus causing rigid stiffening of the joints and spine.
As stated above this disease is three times more prevalent in men than in women but this may be due to the fact that women take a considerably longer time to be diagnosed.
For those suffering from a severe case of ankylosing spondylitis and more advanced cases it could eventualy lead to joint replacement surgery.
Some new developments in the research stages of the cause of ankylosing spondylitis seem to offer new found hope to people suffering from this disease.
Arthritis Of The Spine and Lower Back Joints
The arthritis connection of ankylosing spondylitis is well established. There are around 100 types of arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis is one of them, also called arthritis of the spine. Arthritis causes inflammation of the spine and lower back joints which results in pain and stiffness of the whole back area. This may cause the bones to fuse together, eventually leading to complete immobility of the spine. This fusion is called ankylosis.