As many of you know by now May is Arthritis Awareness Month. As part of our support for the month we have decided to highlight a few different arthritic conditions. For those who are interested we have looked at Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus and Fibromyalgia in some detail in previous blog posts on PatientTalk.Org.
Today we wish to focus on Ankylosing spondylitis. Primarily it is a spinal condition though it can also affect other parts of the body. There are two objectives to this blog post. Firstly to raise awareness of Ankylosing spondylitis among our readership and the wider community. Secondly to give an opportunity for people with AS to share their experiences and story. Hopefully it will provide useful information and support for those who have just been diagnosed with the condition .
Normally the symptoms develop over a period of time (in fact, several months is common). Typically they include:-
The inflammation can cause the spine to fuse which is referred to as ankylosis. Causes are as yet unconfirmed but it is believed to have a genetic link. Typically in the Uk around 1 in 300 people have been diagnosed with the condition. Interestly around three quarters of those affected are female. And most cases seem to start when the person with AS is in their twenties.
a) Pain Management
b) Exercise – check out our previous blog post on exercise for people in pain!
In severe cases of AS surgery is used to help with the fusion of the spine.
So over to you. We would love to hear the voices of people in the Ankylosing spondylitis community. It would be great if you could use the comments box below to share your story. Please feel free to include anything you think may be of interest but you may wish to consider the following questions?
1) At what age did your first symptoms appear?
2) What were those symptoms?
3) How have the symptoms progressed over time?
4) How supportive have you family and friends been?
5) What treatments have you used for AS and how effective have they been?
6) Is there one piece of advice you would give to somebody who has just been diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis?
If you can suggest any good blogs, groups and sources of info that would be great as well.
Many thanks in advance for your help!