Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is and inflammatory, auto immune disease which mostly occurs in young adults especially men than women. The Cause for AS is still unknown and there is a perception that it is genetic. People who have a gene called HLA- B27 (Human leukocyte antigen) are at great risk of developing Ankylosing Spondylitis, however not everyone found positive with HLA-B27 have Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Early signs and symptoms of Ankylosing spondylitis might include pain and stiffness in your lower back and hips, especially in the morning and after periods of inactivity. Neck pain and fatigue also are common. Over time, symptoms might deteriorate, improve or stop at irregular intervals and Ankylosing Spondylitis at chronic stage is really painful and one has to learn to live with the pain his or her whole life.
The areas most commonly affected are:
- The joint between the base of your spine and your pelvis (sacroiliac joint)
- The vertebrae in your lower back(Lumbar)
- The places where your tendons and ligaments attach to bones, mainly in your spine, but sometimes along the back of your heel
- The cartilage between your breastbone and ribs
- Your hip and shoulder joints
There is not permanent cure yet for Ankylosing Spondylitis but if diagnosed early and treated properly with regular exercises and healthy life style Ankylosing Spondylitis symptoms can be delayed.
In severe Ankylosing spondylitis, new bone forms as part of the body's attempt to heal. This new bone gradually bridges the gap between vertebrae and eventually fuses sections of vertebrae. Those parts of your spine become stiff and inflexible. Fusion can also stiffen your rib cage, restricting the lung capacity making it difficult to breathe and some might also have Psoriasis.
There are also other Complications like Eye inflammation, Fragile bones which can get fractured easily and make you vulnerable to Heart problems
If you have a back pain when you wake up in the morning and the pain starts to wane as you start walking or exercise it is always better that you go meet a rheumatologist. Remember if Ankylosing Spondylitis is diagnosed in early stages it can be controlled with medicines and proper exercise.