A condition where the vertebrae (spinal bones) fuses over time is called ankylosing spondylitis. It is an inflammatory disease which affects the flexibility of the spine and causes the posture to hunch. If this condition reaches the ribs, it can cause breathing difficulty. Men are most likely to acquire this disease than women and the signs and symptoms usually begins in young adults. The eye is another part of the body which may be affected by this condition. This disease has no cure but undergoing treatment can delay its development and decrease symptoms.
Lower back and hip pain with stiffness, especially in the morning or after a couple of tasks are the early signs of ankylosing spondylitis. Other symptoms are pain and feeling extremely tired. On the other hand, these symptoms may improve or worsen or even stop irregularly.
The following parts of the body are mostly affected:
- Lower back
- Shoulder joint
- Hip joint
- The joint in between the pelvis and the base of the spine
- Areas where the bones connect with the tendons and ligaments, at the back of the heel but most commonly in the spine
- The cartilage in between the ribs and breastbone
If you experience the following characteristics, it is recommended to consult your doctor:
- A buttock or lower back pain that worsens in the morning or awakens you while you are asleep at night.
- The pain improves with exercise but worsens at rest.
- Painful and blurred vision, severe sensitivity to light or red eyes.
Cause and risk factors
There is no certain cause of ankylosing spondylitis but it could be due to genetic condition, especially people with HLA-B27 gene. Also, ankylosing spondylitis is more commonly seen in men than in women.