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What is Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)?

This is a form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine, although other joints can become involved. Ankylosing spondylitis, or AS causes inflammation of the spinal joints (vertebrae) that could lead to severe, chronic pain and discomfort.

This inflammation can lead to ankylosis (new bone formation in the spine) in more advanced cases. It causes sections of the spine to fuse, leading to some level of immobility.

AS can also cause stiffness, inflammation and pain in other areas of the body e.g. the shoulders, hips, ribs, heels, and small joints of the hands and feet. Sometimes it goes as far as the eyes (iritis or uveitis).

Causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis

There is as at now, no known cause. However, genetic factors seem to play a big role. Particularly people who have the HLA-B27 gene. They happen to be at a greatly increased risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis.

Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips are some of theearly signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis. These usually occurs especially in the morning and after long periods of inactivity.

Most commonly affected areas are:

  • The joint between the base of the spine and the pelvis
  • Places where tendons and ligaments attach to ones bones, mainly in the spine, thoughsometimes along the back of the heel
  • The cartilage between the breastbone and ribs
  • Hip and shoulder joints
  • The vertebrae in the lower back

When to see a doctor

  • You have low back or buttock pain that comes slowly.
  • Pain in the lower back is worse in the morning or awakens you from your sleep in the second half of the night.
  • This pain improves with exercise and instead worsens with rest.
  • See an eye specialist immediately if a painful red develops with severe light sensitivity or blurred vision.

Risk Factors

  • Gender - Men are more likely to develop ankylosing spondylitis than are women.
  • Age Generally, theonset occurs in late adolescence or early adulthood.
  • Heredity - Most people who have ankylosing spondylitis have the HLA-B27 gene.

Complications

In this condition, new bone forms as part of the body's attempt to heal. This new bone gradually ends up bridging the gap between vertebrae.Eventually, it fuses sections of vertebrae renderingthose parts of the spine stiff and rigid. Such fusion can also stiffen the rib cage, this will in turn restrict the lungs capacity and function.

Other complications:

  • Eye inflammation (uveitis) This happens to beone of the most common complications of ankylosing spondylitis, the condition can cause sudden eye pain, sensitivity to light and a blurred vision.
  • Heart problems - Ankylosing spondylitis can cause problems with the largest artery in your body.An inflamed aorta can enlarge to the point of distorting the shape of the aortic valve in the heart. This will impair the functioning of the valve.
  • Compression fractures in some cases, bones thin out during the early stages of ankylosing spondylitis. The weakened vertebrae can crumble and therefore increase the severity ofposture. The vertebral fractures can subsequently put pressure on thespinal cordand possibly cause injuries to the nerves that pass through the spine.

Diagnosis for Ankylosing Spondylitis

During the physical exam, our doctors' might ask you to bend in different directions to test the range of motion in your spine. He or she might try to reproduce your pain by pressing on specific portions of your pelvis or by moving your legs into a particular position. Also, our doctors' might ask you to take a deep breath to see if you have difficulty expanding your chest.

Imaging tests

X-rays allow our doctors' to check for changes in your joints and bones, though the visible signs of ankylosing spondylitis might not be evident early in the disease.
An MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to provide more-detailed images of bones and soft tissues. MRI scans can reveal evidence of ankylosing spondylitis earlier in the disease process, but are much more expensive.

Lab tests

There are no specific lab tests to identify ankylosing spondylitis. Certain blood tests can check for markers of inflammation, but inflammation can be caused by many different health problems. Your blood can be tested for the HLA-B27 gene. But most people who have that gene don't have ankylosing spondylitis and you can have the disease without having the gene.

Treatment for Ankylosing Spondylosis at Diamed

Including complex of art unique methodic which are combine with Herbal medicine formulation and Physiotherapy courses with course of special diet to prevent new ankylosing spur formation and fixation the results out of treatment.

Though medications may help in some cases, staying active is the main key to manage AS.

Exercise - Exercise helps you stand straighter and keeps your spine more flexible. Staying active has the potential to even banish the pain without any medication. The more the activity, the better the feeling.

Physical therapy There will be the need to practice good posture, and generally keep a stablespine.These can be done at home, however it will be more beneficial to work with a professional physical therapist or with a group.

Medication

Most prescription (NSAIDs) like Indocin will help most AS cases. However, they could also lead to stomach bleeding, heart problems, and other side effects.

Similarly, stronger medications like biologics which are made with proteins etc. may also cause serious side effects, including infections.

Prognosis

AS varies greatly from person to person in severity. Some may experience only intermittent back pain and discomfort, while others may experience severe pain and stiffness over multiple areas of the body for long periods of time. AS can be devastating. In some cases, could lead to disability. In almost all cases, AS is characterized by acute, painful episodes or flares. These are followed by temporary periods when symptoms subside.

It is important to know that ankylosing spondylitis is a lifelong disease whose severity has nothing to do with age or gender. It can be just as severe in women and children as in men. Remember that it is important to take our full treatment course of AS at our facility to prevent disability and be healthy.

Home Remedies

  • Even if for a few minutes at a time, make time to exercise every day. Workingout especiallyin water has helped a lot of people who have AS.
  • In order not to put your joints arent under as much stress, keep a healthy weight Omega-3 fatty acids might help butwatch out for patterns, certain foods might trigger changes in how one feels at any time.
  • Quit smoking. Smokers often have symptoms that get worse as they age.
  • Manage stress better with activities like massage, yoga, meditation etc.
  • Apply heat to stiff joints and tight muscles, and use cold on inflamed areas.

Prevention for Ankylosing Spondylosis

Its not known how AS can be prevented as causes remain unknown in the first place.

However, a patients focus must be on preventing especially disability by:

  • Staying active
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Maintaining a normal body weight
  • Keep your kidney healthy
  • Avoid UTI ( urinary tract infection) and STD ( sexual transmit diseases)

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Opening Hours

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  • Saturday: 8am to 2pm

Quick Contact

  • Okponglo Junction,
    Opposite University of Ghana
    Legon Stadium, East Legon
  • info@diamedghana.com
  • +233 243 176 119