Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that can cause some of the vertebrae in your spine to fuse over time, making the spine less flexible and causing people to hunched-forward in their posture. When Ankylosing spondylitis affects the ribs it can be tough to breathe deeply. Symptoms usually show in early adulthood and it affects men more than women. People’s eyes can become inflamed due to Ankylosing spondylitis and currently there is no cure. There are treatments that can lessen your symptoms and slow down the disease.
Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Symptoms could include pain and stiffness in your lower back and hips, especially after periods of inactivity. Fatigue and neck pain are other symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis. Symptoms can improve, stop, or get worse in irregular intervals.
Most people are affected in the following areas of the body…
- Between the base of the spine and pelvis (sacroiliac)
- The vertebrae in the lower back
- Where tendons and ligaments attach to bones, mainly in the spine, but sometimes along the back of the heel
- Cartilage area between the breastbone and ribs
- Hip and shoulder joints
Causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis
There aren’t and known causes but it seems that genetic factors are to blame. People with the gene HLA-B27 are a more risk of developing the problem than others.
Risk Factors for Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Men are more likely to have a problem
- People get ankylosing spondylitis in their late adolescence or early adulthood.
- People with the HLA-B27 gene
Complications Caused by Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Fusing – With severe cases of ankylosing spondylitis, new bones can form by accident, due to the body trying to heal itself, causing vertebrae to be fused together. This fusion can stiffen your rib cage can make breathing harder than normal.
- Eye inflammation (uveitis) – Rapid eye pain, light sensitivity, and blurred vision.
- Compression Fractures – Bones can thin and weakened vertebrae can crumble which will cause people to bend forward. Fractures in the vertebrae can put pressure on and possibly injure the spinal cord and the nerves that pass through the spine.
- Heart Problems – Ankylosing spondylitis can cause problems with your aorta, the largest artery in your body. The inflamed aorta can enlarge to the point that it distorts the shape of the aortic valve in the heart, which impairs its function.
For persistent pain that is interfering with your daily activities, see a rheumatologist to make the correct diagnosis and begin the proper treatment.
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Tristate Arthritis and Rheumatology is first and largest Rheumatology practice in the Northern Kentucky area. Founded by Dr. Arthur Kunath in 1986, our rheumatology practice now consists of six doctors who are board certified in both Internal Medicine and Rheumatology and a Physician Assistant. Patients see one doctor (except in emergencies), thereby assuring continuity of care and an individualized doctor-patient atmosphere giving the physician the ability to establish personalized and detailed relationships. Our doctors have received numerous awards, including being listed as “Top Doctors” in Cincinnati Magazine, receiving the Patient’s Choice Award, the Most Compassionate Doctor Award, and the American College of Rheumatology’s “My Doc Rocks” award.
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