- Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis that causes pain and stiffness in the Spine.
- Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is also known as Bechterew disease, which usually starts in the lower back.
- It is an inflammatory disease that, over time, can cause some of the small bones in the Spine (vertebrae) to fuse.
- Signs and symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) typically begins in early adulthood.
- The fusing of the Spine makes the Spine less flexible and can result in a hunched-forward posture, and if ribs are affected, it can be difficult to breathe deeply.
- Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) affects men more often than women.
- Inflammation can occur in other parts of the body- most commonly, the eyes.
- There is no permanent cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), but treatments and exercises can lessen the symptoms and possibly slow the progression of the disease.
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Early signs and symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) might include:
- Pain and Stiffness in the lower back and hips, especially in the morning and after periods of inactivity.
- Neck pain and fatigue are common.
- A rigid spine that curves forward
- Swelling in the joints
- Trouble taking deep breaths
Over time, symptoms might worsen, improve or stop at irregular intervals.
The areas most commonly affected by Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) are:
The joint between the base of the spine and the pelvis
- The vertebrae in the lower back
- The places where the ligaments and tendons attach to bones (mainly in the spine), but sometimes along the back of the heel
- The cartilage between the breastbone and ribs
- The hip and shoulder joints
Ankylosing Spondylitis- Procedure
There is no single test to confirm Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). The doctor may rely on the patient’s symptoms, physical examination, imaging tests, and blood tests.
- Physical Examination: At the time of physical examination, the doctor may ask the patient to bend in several directions to test the range of motion in the spine. The doctor might try to reproduce the pain by pressing on specific portions.
- Imaging Tests: Imaging Tests may include X-Rays and MRI scans to get more detailed images of bones and soft tissues.
- Blood Tests: There are no specific blood tests to identify Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). Certain blood tests can be performed to check for markers of inflammation.