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Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis of the spine. It causes inflammation between your vertebrae, which are the bones that make up your spine, and in the joints between your spine and pelvis. In some people, it can affect other joints.

AS is more common and more severe in men. It often runs in families. The cause is unknown, but it is likely that both genes and factors in the environment play a role.

Early symptoms of AS include back pain and stiffness. These problems often start in late adolescence or early adulthood. Over time, AS can fuse your vertebrae together, limiting movement. Some people have symptoms that come and go. Others have severe, ongoing pain.

A diagnosis of AS is based on your medical history and a physical examination. You may also have imaging or blood tests.

AS has no cure, but medicines can relieve symptoms and may keep the disease from getting worse. Eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and exercising can also help. In rare cases, you may need surgery to straighten the spine.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease

Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis

The following features are indicative of Ankylosing Spondylitis:
  • chronic pain in the lower back
  • stiffness of the lower back
  • swelling
  • neck pain
  • fatigue

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Common Causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis

The following are the most common causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis:
  • hereditary
  • individuals with the human leukocyte antigen B27 (HLA-B27) genotype

Risk Factors for Ankylosing Spondylitis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Ankylosing Spondylitis:
  • late adolescence
  • males
  • heredity

Prevention of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Ankylosing Spondylitis. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • eat healthy diet
  • avoid smoking
  • exercise regularly

Occurrence of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Ankylosing Spondylitis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Ankylosing Spondylitis most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 35-50 years

Common Gender

Ankylosing Spondylitis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Ankylosing Spondylitis:
  • Schober's test: To measure the flexion of the lumbar spine
  • physical exam
  • Genetic testing: To measure variations of the HLA-B gene
  • Blood tests: To measure the blood concentration of C-reactive proteins and erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index: To detect the inflammatory burden of disease

Doctor for Diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis:
  • Rheumatologist
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Physiatrist
  • Physical therapist

Complications of Ankylosing Spondylitis if untreated

Yes, Ankylosing Spondylitis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Ankylosing Spondylitis is left untreated:
  • aortic insufficiency
  • aortitis
  • heart rhythm problems
  • pulmonary fibrosis

Procedures for Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis

The following procedures are used to treat Ankylosing Spondylitis:
  • Physical therapy: Improves strength and flexibility
  • Surgery: Replaces the damaged joint

Medicines for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Below is the list of medicines used for Ankylosing Spondylitis:

Self-care for Ankylosing Spondylitis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Ankylosing Spondylitis:
  • Exercise regularly: Maintains flexibility and improves the posture
  • Avoid smoking: Decreases chances of additional problems for people with ankylosing spondylitis
  • Stand in good posture: Practicing standing straight posture in regular routine
  • Have healthy diet

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Ankylosing Spondylitis:
  • Use Shali Shastika Pinda Swedana: Massage whole body to relieve pain
  • Acupuncture: Relieves the pain and prevents the future episodic relapses

Patient Support for Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis

The following actions may help Ankylosing Spondylitis patients:
  • Meet people with same condition: Join an online or in-person support group of people with the same condition

Time for Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Ankylosing Spondylitis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 3 - 6 months

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Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Ankylosing Spondylitis.

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