Sunday, 12 January 2014

ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS

ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS

Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that can cause some of the vertebrae in your spine to fuse together. This fusing makes the spine less flexible and can result in a hunched-forward posture. A severe case of ankylosing spondylitis can make it impossible for you to lift your head high enough to see forward.

CAUSES

Ankylosing spondylitis has no known specific cause, though genetic factors seem to be involved. In particular, people who have a gene called HLA-B27 are at significantly increased risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis.

As ankylosing spondylitis worsens and the inflammation persists, 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 together. Those parts of your spine become stiff and inflexible. Fusion can also stiffen your rib cage, restricting your lung capacity and function.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

Early signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis may include pain and stiffness in your lower back and hips, especially in the morning and after periods of inactivity.

These symptoms may come on so gradually that you don't notice them at first. Over time, symptoms may worsen, improve or stop completely at irregular intervals.

The areas most commonly affected are:
- The joint between the base of your spine and your pelvis.
- The vertebrae in your lower back.
- 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.

RISK FACTORS

- Sex: Men are more likely to develop ankylosing spondylitis than are women.
- Age: Onset generally occurs in late adolescence or early adulthood.
- Heredity: Most people who have ankylosing spondylitis have the HLA-B27 gene.

COMPLICATIONS

Ankylosing spondylitis doesn't follow a set course. The severity of symptoms and development of complications vary widely from person to person. Complications may include:
- Eye inflammation (uveitis).
- Compression fractures.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Heart problems.

There is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis, but treatments can decrease your pain and lessen your symptoms.

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