Symptoms and Complications of Severe Ankylosing Spondylitis

What Is Severe Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)?

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a progressive, inflammatory form of arthritis that affects the spine and other joints. There are different symptoms of AS and not everyone with illness will experience the same symptoms or have identical joint pain. The rate of progression of one’s condition varies from person to person.

Symptoms may either be mild or severe. Mild symptoms are easy to treat and individuals will recover with immediate treatment. Severe cases can lead to more complications that will make the condition last long.  In severe or late stage AS, pain and inflammation can cause serious damage in your body. People with AS often feel this in the spine first, where pain and stiffness worsen as the spine becomes less flexible.

It can take an average of 4 to 9 years to get a proper diagnosis and start treatment for AS, according to a 2006 research review. In some cases, there are already joint damages by the time a diagnosis is made. In late stage AS, ongoing inflammation in the spine can cause joints to fuse together.

Healthcare professionals would conduct an X-ray [1] to see if there are any structural damages from ongoing inflammation. The result of the X-ray will help in making a diagnosis. At this stage, other parts of the body may also have damage. Even with severe AS, though, there are effective treatments that can help control your symptoms and prevent further progression of the condition.

Continue reading to learn more about how you can manage severe AS and its complications.