Ankylosing spondylitis is a disease related to the spine. This disease is a type of arthritis that affects the back. With this disease, your spine becomes inflamed. As a result, you will notice stiffness and pain in the neck, back, and chest. Some people even have this condition in their 20s.
When you have inflammation, your body begins to produce extra calcium around the spine. This causes the bones to grow exponentially, which leads to pain and stiffness in the area connected to the area. As calcium accumulates in your bones, it will fuse one bone to another. When this happens, you will feel irritable and move your head. In severe cases, your spine begins to bend forward due to calcium deposits.
If you want to prevent this from getting worse, maintaining a healthy and active daily life would be a good idea. In addition, you can consult your doctor as soon as possible. Maintaining a good posture also helps prevent curvature of the spine.
The effects of this condition are not limited to your back and neck. You may also feel pain and stiffness in other parts of your body, including your feet, shoulders, and hips. The actual cause of this situation is still unknown. However, many experts believe that ankylosing spondylitis is a genetic disease. Therefore, if you suffer from this disease, it is best to run in your family.
Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis
Initially, the development of this condition may cause the following symptoms:
• You will feel pain and stiffness in your lower back, especially when you wake up in the morning. However, the pain may disappear with physical activity.
• You may feel pain in your buttocks. The pain may also spread to the back of the thigh.
• Severe pain can affect your sleep cycle.
You may confuse this condition with frequent back pain. Back pain is the spell of fluctuating pain that appears and disappears. However, ankylosing spondylitis is a long-term disease. In addition, back pain usually does not cause pain in the shoulders, hips, neck, and thighs. If you are inactive for a long time, the pain will get worse. For example, if you sit in a chair for a long time, the pain will increase.
Many people claim that this condition can also cause stiffness, swelling and pain in the ankles and knees. However, the pain will vary depending on the movement of your body. Once the disease affects most parts of your spine, you will find it difficult to turn, twist and bend during any activity.
The following are other symptoms you may have due to this condition:
• Swelling and pain in toes or fingers
• Sore arch or heel
• Chest tightness and pain.
• Over time, these symptoms can become severe and can cause breathing difficulties. You will feel the softness of the ribs. Even light activity can cause shortness of breath.
• Wheezing and coughing cause pain and discomfort.
• Anxiety and depression
• You may experience chronic fatigue, which will not go away after you rest. This may happen due to a condition called anemia. This is because of insufficient red blood cells. These cells are responsible for transporting blood throughout the body. Without abundant red blood cells, oxygen cannot reach the whole body.
• Development of iritis or uveitis. In this case, your eyes will become irritated. The first signs of the development of this condition include pain and red eyes. You may also feel uncomfortable seeing bright lights.
• You may find it difficult to sit in a chair correctly. This occurs due to tenderness in the pelvis.
• Enteritis is another symptom of ankylosing spondylitis. You can call this condition inflammatory bowel disease. If you experience diarrhea, you should see a doctor immediately.
Complications of ankylosing spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis is a painful condition that causes inflammation of the bones. This condition may also cause pain throughout the body. The following are the body parts that AS may affect:
1. the spine
With this disease, your vertebrae become weak. This is a rare situation, but it will happen. Therefore, you need to see a doctor before breaking a bone. When your vertebrae become weak, it compresses the nerves and causes irritation. You can call this situation a ponytail. This condition increases your risk of sexual problems, loss of response, and affects your ability to control your bladder or bowel.
About 40% of patients with AS will develop uveitis, which is an eye problem. In this case, your eyes will become irritated. Over time, this may become serious. If you do not treat your illness in time, it may cause your vision to be blurred. In addition, your eyes become sensitive to light. If doctors find any symptoms of uveitis, they will check for signs of ankylosing spondylitis.
3. Heart valves
Although AS rarely affects your heart valves, you may experience enlarged aorta. Due to this abnormality, your aortic valve will change its shape. This can cause blood to leak into your heart. The occurrence of this condition will affect your heart’s ability to pump blood normally. This can cause fatigue and shortness of breath.
If you have ankylosing spondylitis, you may get cancer. Cancer types include prostate cancer and bone cancer in men. However, women may develop colon cancer. However, both sexes are at risk of blood-related cancers.
Are you at risk of ankylosing spondylitis?
1. Family history
If any of your family members have this condition, you most likely have it. A protein, HLA-B27, is present in your body and triggers the accumulation of calcium around the spine. In a 2002 study, approximately 90% of AS patients contracted the disease due to their family characteristics.
Young people have a particularly high risk of ankylosing spondylitis. You may experience initial symptoms in your teens. And when you are 20 to 40 years old, your symptoms will become more prominent.
Men are more susceptible to this disease than women.
The occurrence of this situation is indeed related to race. For example, if you are of Caucasian descent, you are more likely to develop this disease than anyone else.
Treatment of ankylosing spondylitis
Currently, we do not have any proper treatment for ankylosing spondylitis. However, the treatment you will receive will help you manage the pain. In addition, it can prevent you from becoming disabled. Therefore, it is very important to seek medical attention immediately after any symptoms are discovered. A professional healthcare provider will diagnose your condition and relieve symptoms. They can also prevent other complications, including bone deformities.
You can take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including naproxen and ibuprofen) to reduce inflammation and control pain. These medicines can save you from further complications. In addition, these drugs are long-acting drugs that can provide relief for a long time. When you cannot seek help from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, you should see a doctor and ask them to prescribe effective drugs. Corticosteroids are also effective in reducing symptoms. However, the effect of this drug is short-term. This shows that by taking this drug, you can slow down the damage to your spine.
When your condition becomes serious and calcium deposits appear on your hip or knee, you should seek help through joint replacement surgery. At some point, this kind of surgery becomes necessary. In addition, if you have poor posture due to bone fusion, you may undergo osteotomy. The surgeon will perform this operation by removing the bones or realigning them to the normal position of the spine.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a condition in which symptoms increase exponentially over time. This indicates that your condition may worsen, leading to permanent disability. Unfortunately, because this condition is chronic, there is no effective treatment. However, many people with this disease find exercise, medication and treatment to be helpful. As a result, they can reduce inflammation and avoid damage to the spine.
It takes time to treat these symptoms through exercise, physical therapy, and medication, but you will get relief through these treatments. Please consult a doctor before taking any treatment options. A professional healthcare provider will diagnose and determine the severity. Then, they will design a treatment plan that provides comfort and ease. Keep in mind that the severity of this situation will increase dramatically over time. Therefore, when you notice any symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis, it is best to seek help immediately.