The Effects of Ankylosing Spondylitis on the Body


Arthritis occurs when there is inflammation in the joint leading to pain and discomfort. There are several types of arthritis and in this article, we will be discussing one of them. Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a form of arthritis that causes inflammation or irritation in the spine.

Inflammation in the joint and ligament of your spine are major signs of ankylosing spondylitis. In most cases, the bones in the affected area can become calcified.  Ultimately, the condition results in back pain and stiffness.

After a while, some patients may experience a fusion of bones which makes moving or bending difficult. AS can be experienced in other joints; it can also affect the eyes, lungs, or heart. Men used to be more susceptible to ankylosing spondylitis, but in recent times, more cases have been seen in women. The condition is easily diagnosed in teenagers or young adults. Scientists have not fully understood the cause, but they suggest genetics play a big role.

The Pain and stiffness that accompanies ankylosing spondylitis are more severe in the morning or when you sit for a long time. Doctors recommend walking to help reduce the pain. If the condition is left untreated for a long period, it can change the structure of the spine. It can also result in a stooped posture.

You may also experience pain in the upper part of your spine, neck, and in some cases, your chest. Ankylosing spondylitis is the only type of arthritis that doesn’t harm the fingers.

Studies done by the Spondylitis Association of America show that over 15 percent of people that have AS experience jaw inflammation. Damage to the temporomandibular joint [1] can affect chewing, which in turn causes inflammation.

In severe cases, you cannot move because your bones are joined together by inflammation. You will experience breathing difficulties if the bones in your thoracic region join, you may also experience inflammation in other joints like your hips, ankles, shoulders, and knees. Inflammation in these joints can cause pain and restrict movement.

Your doctor may use imaging tests, such as MRI scans and X-rays to observe any inflammation. These tests are also used for diagnosis. The primary aim of treatment is to relieve inflammation, reduce pain, and prevent complications.