11 Possible Complications of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory type of arthritis that affects the joints in the spine and pelvis. This is an incurable condition that can cause back pain and stiffness. Over time, this condition can result in serious health problems and cause more than just back pain. Fortunately, treatment can help avoid complications and improve the quality of your life.

If you are still doubting whether you need treatment for ankylosing spondylitis, take a look at the following 11 complications. These possible health problems can conceive you to make the first step in the direction of treatment.

1. Heart disease

Ankylosing spondylitis can cause severe, heart-related complications. This disease often results in conditions like inflammation of the aortic valve, narrowing of the arteries, atherosclerosis, and arrhythmias. The best way to treat ankylosing spondylitis-related heart conditions is to prevent them. Ask your healthcare provider about preventative measures to preserve your heart health.

2. Costochondritis

Costochondritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the cartilage that connects ribs to the breastbone. The symptoms of this condition usually include pain and tenderness in the chest or difficulty breathing. The symptoms of costochondritis often mimic the symptoms of heart disease. Anti-inflammatory medications and ice and heat therapy usually help to relieve the symptoms. But for patients with ankylosing spondylitis, costochondritis may recur over time.

3. Kyphosis

Another condition common for people with ankylosing spondylitis is kyphosis. Ankylosing spondylitis causes inflammation and bone spurs that result in an excessive outward curve of the spine and rounding of the upper back. Keeping ankylosing spondylitis inflammation under the control can help you prevent kyphosis. In severe cases of kyphosis, your doctor may suggest surgery to correct the curvature of the spine.

4. Uveitis and iritis

Uveitis and iritis are common eye diseases that often affect people with ankylosing spondylitis. These are inflammatory conditions that affect the uvea. Both uveitis and iritis can cause serious eye complications and contribute to permanent damage. If untreated, these eye conditions can lead to partial or complete vision loss. The symptoms of uveitis and iritis include blurred vision, eye dryness, burning sensation, and sensitivity to light. The treatment usually includes eye drops and steroid medications to combat inflammation.

5. Depression

Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic health condition that can seriously impair the quality of your life. For this reason, clinical depression is common among people with ankylosing spondylitis. If you suspect you have depression, it is important to seek medical help. Living with chronic physical illness and mental health disorders can aggravate the symptoms of both conditions.There is a lot of treatment available to help you fight depression.

6. Enthesitis

Enthesis is a part of your musculoskeletal system where the joint capsules, ligaments, or tendons attach to bone. Enthesitis is a condition when the enthesis become inflamed and swollen. People with ankylosing spondylitis often develop this condition. Enthesitis can occur at any part of your body but is more common in the spine, chest, and pelvic area. Enthesitis usually includes anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections for more serious situations.

7. Osteoporosis

Because of inflammation, spine degeneration, and bone spurs, patients with ankylosing spondylitis often suffer from osteoporosis. The changes that occur in your body with ankylosing spondylitis make the bones in your body fragile and prone to fractures. If you are concerned about the density of your bones, ask your healthcare provider about a bone density test. If your bone density is low, your doctor may suggest medications to slow down the progression of osteoporosis.

8. Neurological disorders

People with ankylosing spondylitis rarely develop neurological conditions, but diseases like spinal stenosis and cauda equina syndrome can occur. Both these health disorders cause the narrowing of the spinal canal. This can cause damage to your central nervous system and cause symptoms like pain and tingling. Rarely, patients with ankylosing spondylitis-related neurological conditions require the help of a spine neurosurgeon.

9. Cognitive dysfunction

People with ankylosing spondylitis often experience a cognitive decline at some point. Over time, patients with ankylosing spondylitis may face problems like temporary memory loss and difficulty recalling specific words or phrases. This complication often decreases the quality of a patient's life. For this reason, it is important to keep in touch with your neurologist if you have ankylosing spondylitis.

10. Comorbidities

Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory health condition that can increase your risk of various related health problems called comorbidities. Comorbidities are additional immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. These may include ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. For this reason, managing ankylosing spondylitis inflammation is crucial to ensure an overall sense of well-being.

11. Peripheral arthritis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a so-called axial health condition that primarily affects the center of the body. For this reason, people with this condition often suffer from peripheral disease activity or arthritis affecting outer parts of the body. This includes hands, wrists, fingers, knees, ankles, feet, and toes. To treat and prevent peripheral arthritis, your doctor may suggest taking anti-inflammatory medications.

The bottom line

Ankylosing spondylitis is a serious health condition that can cause a variety of potential complications. By being aware of the common risks, you can preserve the quality of your life. If you have ankylosing spondylitis, don't delay the treatment and follow the doctor's recommendations to ensure overall well-being. 

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Tuesday, 27 February 2024