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Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis

What are the symptoms?

The course of the Ankylosing Spondylitis is highly variable as are the symptoms. Some individuals have episodes of transient back pain only, others have more chronic severe back pain that leads to differing degrees of spinal stiffness over time. In almost all cases the disease is characterized by acute painful episodes and remissions (periods where the problem settles).

if you think you may have symptoms for Ankylosing Spondylitis visit your doctor to confirm.

Establishing the correct diagnosis early is important because the sooner appropriate treatment is started the better the chance of avoiding disability or deformity. So, if you think you may have this disease, go see your doctor!

If you have already been diagnosed, knowing what to expect with this disease may help you determine your treatment plan.

The following are the symptoms ankylosing spondylitis sufferers generally endure:

  • Pain. The most universal symptom is chronic lower back pain that seems to just come on for no apparent reason. The back pain is usually dull and diffuse rather than sharp and localized. Another common site of pain is deep within the buttock, on one side, or on both sides.
  • Stiff and inflexible spine. Scarring in the spine causes the joints of the spine to grow together (fuse, or "ankylose").
    ankylosing spondylitis can have painful affects on your life.
    As the bones fuse, back pain will gradually go away, but the spine will remain very stiff and unable to bend. The upper spine can curve forward until eventually you have a hard time looking straight ahead.
  • Fatigue. You may feel tired as the disease progresses. This tiredness comes from the body fighting the inflammatory process that is part of ankylosing spondylitis, and from ongoing stiffness and pain.
  • Uncontrolled stooping. To avoid the pain there is a natural tendency to stoop forward as extending backwards is more uncomfortable. This reflex can lead to bad posture. Also in bed there is a tendency to curl up, as this may feel more comfortable.
  • Loss of appetite. The pain and discomfort you feel may affect your appetite. Eating might be the last thing on your mind; however, it is important to keep your strength up and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Weight loss. Your loss of appetite and fatigue may in turn cause you to lose weight. You need to be careful though. Maintaining a healthy body weight is important.
  • Difficulty breathing and restricted expansion of chest. Breathing can become difficult as the upper body curves forward and the chest wall stiffens.
  • Eye inflammation and pain. The coloured part of the eye (iris) may become inflamed.
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    This inflammation, called iritis, occurs in about 25% to 30% of people with ankylosing spondylitis. Symptoms of iritis include redness and pain in the eye and sensitivity to light.
  • Bowel inflammation. Sometimes this uncomfortable condition occurs, which may be associated with Crohn's Disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • Difficulty walking or standing. As the spine loses its natural curves it becomes hard to balance while standing and walking.
  • Lung infections. Severe ankylosing spondylitis can also cause scarring of the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis) and an increased risk of lung infection.
  • Heart difficulties. In rare cases, the heart muscle can become scarred and the heart valves may become inflamed. The heart may be unable to pump properly. The main artery leading from the heart (aorta) can also be affected by becoming inflamed and enlarged near where it leaves the heart.

As mentioned above, the symptoms listed here are generally endured by Ankylosing Spondylitis sufferers. However, everyone is different. Your symptoms may vary from what is listed here or you may only have one or two symptoms compared to others who have many.



Do you have more questions?

If you have any questions regarding our therapeutic products and your treatment options, please contact a MendMeShop Advisor for assistance. You can be assured all your questions will be answered in a thorough and courteous manner by our trained staff.

Within Continental US and Canada call toll 1-866-237-9608

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