Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory condition that involves the spine, but can also affect several joints such as the knees, hips and the chest. The severity and pattern of joint involvement tends to vary from one individual to another.
It is important to note that genetics has a vital role in the condition. Majority of individuals with ankylosing spondylitis have a specific marker present in the white blood cells, specifically HLA-B27. It simply means that those who have the condition have a family history but it might be more painful and affect several areas of the body.
Close look on ankylosing spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis often starts at an early age and quite common among men. It also presents itself as juvenile ankylosing spondylitis which is common among boys than girls.
The condition is characterized by low back and/or neck pain, diminished motion and morning stiffness that improves with exercise and unrelieved by rest. The joint pain in the shoulders, hips, knees, chest wall or other regions can also occur. In some cases, inflammation of the eye can occur, thus regular check-ups are vital since eye damage can occur even before any symptoms are noticed. Lung and heart issues might also be linked with the condition, but they are uncommon.
What are the indications of ankylosing spondylitis?
The symptoms tend to vary from one individual to another, but usually start with low back pain and rigidity that is evident in the morning and after extended periods of rest.
The pain is typically alleviated by physical activity and improves by the end of the day. Some individuals experience similar pain in the hips, buttocks, upper back, chest and the neck. If not treated, the ankylosing process can result to a hunch-backed appearance.
The individual is also susceptible to the development of arthritis in the large-sized joints and even experience pain linked to Achilles tendonitis, lung issues, inflammation of the aortic valve and iritis.
Prompt diagnosis is vital with ankylosing spondylitis. Just like with other inflammatory forms of arthritis, there is no cure even today for the condition. Luckily, medication and physical therapy can make a significant difference in the symptoms and function. In addition, local steroid injections can also help while severe cases can greatly benefit from surgery.