Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic form of arthritis that most often affects the spine. This type of arthritis can cause pain and lower mobility in the middle part of the back, lower back, buttocks, neck, and sometimes other parts of the body, such as the hips, thorax or stage.
Also, swelling and limitation of movement may occur in these areas. The disease is more common in men.
There are no drugs that can completely cure this disease, but you can restrain the manifestations of the disease and in most cases prevent the deterioration of its course. Many people are able to lead a normal life and work.
This disease can cause other problems. Possible appearance of pain in the iris of the eye (iritis), the development of breathing problems, as the upper body begins to bend, and the wall of the chest becomes less elastic.
The cause is unknown, but the disease may be inherited. Most people with ankylosing spondylitis are born with a certain antigen (HLA-B27), but the presence of this antigen does not indicate a predisposition to the disease.
The results of the research suggest that bacterial infections and environmental factors play a significant role in the development of the disease.
Characteristic complaints of pain in the region of the lumbar and buttocks of moderate to severe severity, especially early in the morning. They gradually decrease in the process of motor activity. Ankylosing spondylitis develops predominantly in the period from adolescence to 30 years.
Subsequently, the course of the disease worsens, as the vertebrae grow, the spine loses flexibility. There is limited movement in the neck and lower back, in which physiological bends disappear. The middle part of the back bends outward. The position of the body with a tilting forward complicates walking.
When the joints connecting the ribs and collarbone with the sternum are ignited, it becomes difficult to breathe. Sometimes the disease affects the eyes, lungs, heart valves, the gastrointestinal tract and the aorta.
How to diagnose ankylosing spondylitis
An early sign of this disease is dull pain in the lumbar and buttocks. The physician should clarify whether the symptoms are gradually deepening over time, suffering from relatives of the patient with diseases of the joints.
In case of suspicion of ankylosing spondylitis, the doctor may prescribe the following studies: X-ray, HLA-B27 antigen or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) analysis of the sacroiliac articulation.
The most obvious symptom of the disease is the change in the sacroiliac joints. In order for the change to be clearly visible on the X-ray, it should go through many years since the onset of the disease. For this reason, doctors can confidently diagnose only after symptoms appear for a long time.
Treatment of ankylosing spondylitis
Treatment includes physical exercises. They will help weaken the stiffness of the joints, as a result, it will be easier to get up and return. Also used are drugs that relieve pain and swelling.
Since people suffering from ankylosing spondylitis are prone to risk of damage to the spinal cord, they must necessarily be fastened with a safety belt while driving in a car.
It is necessary to regularly observe the eyes for possible inflammation (iritis). You can use a cane while walking to reduce joints load.
Sometimes there is a need for surgical surgery on the spine. If the femoral or knee joint is seriously affected by arthritis, it may be necessary to replace it with an artificial one.
From this disease it is impossible to cure completely. However, early diagnosis and treatment will help alleviate the pain and relieve movement constraints that will lead to an active lifestyle for a long time.