Description of Ankylosing spondylitis
A progressive, inflammatory rheumatic disease affecting the spine and hip joints, characterized by stiffening and pain.
Persons most commonly affected by Ankylosing spondylitis
Young males, the condition usually beginning between the ages of 10 and 40. It is rare in females.
Organ or part of body involved in Ankylosing spondylitis - sacroiliac region, hips and spine, sometimes affecting joints in the hand, arm and shoulder.
Symptoms and indications of Ankylosing spondylitis
In the early stages there is lower back pain in the lumbar region and stiffness, especially on rising in the morning. Later the disease progresses to involve the whole spine, and fibrous tissue replaces and fuses spinal discs and ligaments. Eventually, the whole spine may become rigid, and the patient's body may be bent forward. This is called a 'bamboo' or 'poker' spine. A person with back pain should seek medical advice.
Treatment of Ankylosing spondylitis
This involves taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy, with special exercises designed to maintain the flexibility of the spine. At the present time there is no known cure, and the disease progresses slowly over a number of years. However, symptoms can be alleviated, and it is desirable for an affected person to stay as active as possible. Activities that may stress the back should be avoided, but exercise, especially swimming,is helpful. There is a possibility of other conditions developing in a patient with ankylosing spondylitis.
Causes and risk factors of Ankylosing spondylitis
The cause is unknown, but there is a genetic link and a tendency for the condition to run in families.