Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ankylosing Spondylosis In Depth

Ankylosing Spondylosis (AS) is very rare and very hard to research.  For myself it's close to home, my father, the editor of this blog has it, and my mother had it as well.  If you are diagnosed, you most likely will not find anything on the web about it.  Normally, it's classified as Ankylosing Spondylitis, which medically speaking, is the same exact disorder only it's a flare up of the title disease ("itis" meaning inflammation of).  This disease/disorder is a form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine, but it can cause issues with other joints as a result.  It causes inflammation of the spinal joints (vertebrae) that can lead to severe, chronic pain.  In the most advanced cases (but not in all cases), this inflammation can lead to new bone formation on the spine (calcium deposits and bone spurring), causing the spine to fuse in a fixed, immobile position, sometimes creating a forward-stooped posture.  This forward curvature of the spine is called kyphosis.  This is a primarily genetic disorder, which is normally passed through the paternal side (father's side).  Although, women can also develop it, it's much more rare.  This disorder in general, is extremely rare.  Genetic testing can be done, with a blood test.  They look for a blood antigen called "HLA-B27".  If you have this in your blood you have a 40% chance of developing the disorder.  The statistics show 2% of men develop it, and less than 1% of women do.  The disorder can affect the eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys, and gastrointestinal system.  Treatment is pain control and seeking a rheumatologist, they will provide steroids for the inflammation.  You start to develop it between the ages of 16 to 21.  The main issues then are ruptured (herniated) discs and/or bulging discs.  Ruptured discs have to be operated on because there is no way for them to heal.  Bulges can get better with rest, no heavy lifting, ice application, steroids for the inflammation, and pain control/nerve blocks.  Physical therapy and specific exercise programs approved by your physician can also help.  There is no cure for this disorder and the treatments I have listed above.  #StayInformed

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