ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Health»
  • Diseases, Disorders & Conditions

About Ankylosing Spondylitis

Updated on March 8, 2015

Ankylosing spondylitis is another form of arthritis. With this disease, the patient’s back will result in a curved forward posture. Once the patient develops this condition, there is no cure for it. The patient will suffer from it for the rest of his life. However, in few people, there may be a remission.


What is Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a long term disease where there is inflammation of the spine. What happens to the patient is that his vertebrae in the spine fuse together. In the earlier stages of this disease, the patient may feel extreme pain and stiffness in his spinal cord or parts of his spine. Over time, the sufferer may lose mobility in his spinal cord.

If you think the cementing (fusing) of the spine is the only problem the sufferer has to suffer, think again. There are many complications that are accompanied by ankylosing spondylitis. It is a systemic disease which means it can involve the other joints of the body even if the joints are away from the spine. Aside from that, it can also cause the inflammation of other organs in the body such as the eyes, kidneys, heart, and lungs. Other complications that sufferers face are heel pain, lower back pain, and pain and stiffness in the hips and neck.


What Happens to the Spine?

The patient suffers from inflammation of the spine. When there is inflammation in the body, the body attempts to heal the inflamed part. In ankylosing spondylitis, new bone forms in the spine as an attempt probably to replace the inflamed part of the spine. However, instead of helping the body to heal, the new bones are actually filling the spaces between each vertebra. While the original vertebrae are still there, the new bones that are forming are occupying the supposed empty spaces that are needed for the spine’s flexibility. This process therefore is doing more harm than good for the body. The formation of the new bone gradually and eventually fuses sections of the vertebrae of the spine together. This can result in the stiffness of the person’s spine. This can also limit the sufferer’s mobility.

Severe pain and stiffness may indicate a severe inflammation on the affected parts. These can cause the complete fusion of the spine or otherwise known as ankylosis. When ankylosis occurs, the pain may disappear, however, the spine may have already lost its mobility. The affected part will then be vulnerable to bone breakage. In its severe stages, ankylosing spondylitis can cause a hunched forward posture of the affected individual. This can limit the person’s breathing capacity.


Early Signs to Watch Out For

To help with an early detection of the disease, one usually feels the pain in the lower back and the hips. Sufferers usually feel it after bedtime and during long periods of physical inactivity. Sufferers would notice a decreased range of motion of their spine.

The inflammation usually affects the whole spinal cord, the neck, and the lower back. The pain and stiffness is usually gradual and worsens over time. But some people may experience rapid and intense pain even in its early stages. The pain and stiffness are usually worst in the mornings and on prolonged periods of inactivity. The pain and stiffness are usually eased through physical activity, heat, or a warm shower.


Complications of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Aside from the fusing of the person’s spine, ankylosing spondylitis sufferers may also suffer from many other complications.

  • Eye inflammation or uveitis can cause sensitivity to light and have blurred vision. It may eventually impair vision.

  • Some sufferers may experience compression fractures where the bones of the person are thinning. It will make the person’s bones easy to break and can increase the severity of his condition.

  • Breathing difficulty is a serious complication of ankylosing spondylitis. When difficulty in breathing occurs, it is a sign that the rib cage of the person is affected by ankylosis.

  • The heart may also have difficulty functioning properly since the disease will eventually get to the point where the heart will be affected. It can slow down the heartbeat of a person. Once the heart beats abnormally, it can cause shortness of breath, dizziness, and heart failure.

  • Heel pain and stiffness.

  • Kidney damage and eventually kidney failure.


Making Things Better For the Patients

Sufferers of the disease are quite unique from each other. The severity of the disease may vary widely from person to person. The course of the condition for people with ankylosing spondylitis may change over time. Some people may experience relapses and remissions but others may not. So, each sufferer is treated differently by their health care providers.

Treatments of this disease are the most successful in its early stages. This is because while the disease still doesn’t cause irreversible damage to the body, the sufferer can delay and even prevent the onset of the physical deformities brought on by the disease. With proper care and proper treatment of the inflammation followed by having an active physical lifestyle, sufferers can delay if not totally prevent the onset of the spine fusion.

The medications needed for people with ankylosing spondylitis are medications that help to reduce inflammation and medications that help suppress the progression of the disease. Physical therapy is beneficial to the patient to help relieve pain, improve physical capacity, and flexibility. Physical exercises are also done to improve spine posture, mobility, and improve lung capacity. Swimming and light aerobic exercises are the preferred choice of exercise for people with ankylosing spondylitis. Stretching exercises can help preserve good posture and breathing exercises can help sustain lung capacity.


Who Is Prone To Ankylosing Spondylitis

What causes ankylosing spondylitis is still unknown however genetics seems to be one evident factor. People who have ankylosing spondylitis have the gene “HLA-B27”. However, there are many people who have this gene that never develop the disease. So, having this gene in a person’s genetics is not a guarantee that he will eventually develop this kind of disease. But having “HLA-B27” in the gene along with having relatives who suffered from this disease should make a person be more aware of the increased risks he may have of developing ankylosing spondylitis.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 6 years ago

      Hi Quicksand, glad you appreciate it. I hope you stayed here just as long. Cheers! And thanks for dropping by. :)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 6 years ago

      It's also a great tongue twister. I spent the last few hours trying to pronounce it!

      Thanks for the info, and cheers!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)