Ankylosing Spondylitis Symptoms
Arthritis is a known disorder that affects one or more body joints, thus causing them to swell and become inflamed. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and the classification depends on the affected joints. One of the most common types of such condition is Ankylosing Spondylitis. This type of arthritis affects the spinal joints as well as the sacroiliac joints. If an individual is suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, these joints become inflamed and swollen and it can worsen overtime.
The spinal joints can become stiff and rigid. The inflammation of the spinal joints is known as spondylitis. As these joints swell, it meshes and fuses together and this process is known as ankylosing. In severe cases of such condition, this may result to the deformation of the spinal posture, thus causing the individual to bend over. Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms may also affect other parts of the body, which results to stiffness and inflammation. The condition may affect the ribs, hips, heels, joints of the hands and of the feet and it can damage various body organs including the kidneys and lungs.
As of today, the main cause of ankylosing spondylitis is still unknown. However, based on a research, the condition has shown genetic disposition along with the presence of the indicative gene, which is the HLA-B27. For individuals with this specific gene, the chance of experiencing ankylosing spondylitis symptoms is at 95%. However, the same gene can also be seen in those who are not experiencing such condition. That means anyone can actually experience ankylosing spondylitis at one point of his or her lives.
Gender preference is possible as well. Men are more susceptible to this condition than women with a ration of 3:1. Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms are also more painful in men than in women. For a woman suffering from this condition, the joints are affected but it is far from the spine, thus causing lesser pain and aches.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Signs and Symptoms
Some of the most common symptoms of such condition are:
- Stiff and rigid lower body muscles
- Lower back pain and aches, as well as pain in the buttocks and hips
- Stooped or bent-over posture
- Performing various activities like walking can be difficult due to the rigid spines
- Difficulty in breathing due to the fused muscles in the ribs
- Pain in the tendons, ligaments and small joints
- Swollen and reddish joints and several parts of the body are warm to touch
- Inflammation of the eye or uveitis and iridocyclitis
- Feeling fatigued or tired
- Milk to high fever
- Weight loss
The most predominant symptom of this condition is pain. However, the severity of pain differs from one person to another. Lower back pain can be felt from the back to the back of the thighs and the buttocks. Moving or exercising the body can ease the pain but lying down or resting can worsen it. Upon waking up in the morning, parts of the body may feel very stiff and severe pain is felt. One thing that you have to remember when suffering from ankylosing spondylitis is that the condition is episodic by nature. That means you may experience acute and severe pain at times and this may subside slowly until you are not feeling any pain at all. These attacks or episodes are often referred to as flares.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Prognosis
Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms are noticeable at younger age, usually from 20 to 40 years old. However, younger children can also experience these symptoms at age 10. Diagnosis of this condition can be very hard even if the symptoms are obvious. The range and severity of the symptoms may appear gradually until it fades into remission and for proper diagnosis, an x-ray of the spine as well as the pelvic area should be done in order to confirm if there are any fused vertebras or any changes in the formation of the spine. However, these physical evidences can only be acquired on the later stage of the condition.
Schober’s test and MRI scans are usually performed to detect the condition during the early stages. There are no available cures for this condition but there are treatments that can help alleviate ankylosing spondylitis symptoms and limit the progress of deformity. When diagnosed with such condition, you might be prescribed to consume NSAID medications to relieve the pain and reduce the swelling. Immunosuppressant drugs and painkillers can also be prescribed. Above all that, surgery can be recommended in case the joints are severely damaged and have to be replaced.
Physical therapy as well as exercises that are designed for such condition is high recommended in order to prevent stiffness and to keep the body flexible and maintain proper posture. However, all physical activities should be done under the supervision of a healthcare expert, even if the ankylosing spondylitis symptoms are mild. Take note that although this condition does not seem very serious, early detection and proper treatment can help prevent complications. It can also help minimize the effects of the condition to allow the patient to continue a normal life.