Ankylosing Spondylitis – Causes and Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a kind of arthritis that affects the spine which includes stiffness and pain from the neck to the lower back. The bones of the spine (vertebrae) may fuse or grow together resulting in a rigid spine. This disorder can be mild or severe and can lead to a stooped over posture. Treating this condition in the beginning can help control stiffness and pain or prevent further deformity.

What are the causes of Ankylosing spondylitis?

  • The exact cause is unknown but genetic factors seem to play a major role.
  • About 95% of people, suffering from Ankylosing spondylitis have a genetic marker called human leukocyte antigen-B27 (HLA-B27).
  • Among American Caucasians, eight people in 100 are born with HLA-B27 gene.
  • This gene is much less among African Americans.
  • This disorder can be triggered by certain kinds of bacterial and viral infection.
  • These activate an immune response that does not reduce after the infection is healed.
  • This is called an autoimmune disease when they attack the body’s own tissue.

Other factors
The other factors that contribute to this disorder include:

  • Sex: Males suffer from this disease more than females.
  • Age: The onset of this disease is often between late adolescence and the age of 40.
  • Hereditary: Genetics play a major role in the development of the disease. Majority of people suffering from this condition have the gene HLA-B27. If one of the parent is suffering from this disease, there’s only one in five chance that your child may suffer from ankylosing spondylitis.

The signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis are divided into three stages. They include:

Initial symptoms

  • Chronic pain in the lower hips and back.
  • Stiffness in the lower back or hip area.
  • Pain between the ribs and spine.
  • Inflammation in the hips, knees, shoulders and feet.
  • Pain in the eyes.

Advanced stages
In advanced stages, the signs and symptoms include:

  • Chronic stooping
  • Fatigue
  • Restricted expansion of chest
  • Inflexible and stiff spine
  • Weight loss
  • Bowel inflammation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Eye inflammation

When to consult your doctor?

Contact your doctor if you find the signs and symptoms like pain in the joint and particularly eye pain or light sensitivity or blurred vision. When you suffer from these symptoms consult your doctor immediately.

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