Ankylosing Spondylitis


Ankylosing spondylitis, the most common type of spinal rheumatism, is the most well-known of this group of diseases. It causes inflammation first in the spine, then in the hip, and sometimes in the surrounding joints.

What Causes Ankylosing Spondylitis?

The most important known cause of the disease is; genetic predisposition. The presence of the genetic structure called “HLA B27” has been found to be associated with these diseases.

In Whom and At What Ages Is It Seen?

Ankylosing spondylitis is more common in men. In fact, it is 3 times more common in men than in women. The age of onset mostly varies from adolescence to adulthood. It is rare for the disease to start after the age of 45. Ankylosing spondylitis begins in adolescence in 40 percent of patients.

What are the symptoms?

In the muscular and skeletal system; It most commonly causes complaints of lower back pain. The pain felt slightly lower in the waist sometimes radiates towards the middle of the hip. Pain may appear on the right side one day and on the left side the next. The patient has difficulty walking. Ankylosing spondylitis, which causes pain and stiffness especially in the morning, also causes difficulty when changing positions in bed. There may be difficulty getting out of bed in the morning and sometimes stiffness that requires getting out of bed with assistance. Over time, while the pain initially felt in the lower back decreases, pain and stiffness in the upper levels of the spine, back and neck begin to increase.
The most common symptom in the eye is eye inflammation. If eye redness, pain and blurred vision begin at the same time, uveitis (inflammation in the visual layer) may develop.
Additionally, chronic diarrhea and colon colitis are among the problems seen with ankylosing spondylitis.

How is the diagnosis made? What Types of Tests Are Used?

Diagnosing ankylosing spondylitis is actually not very difficult. The most important step in diagnosis is suspecting this disease. In cases where the disease has just begun, direct x-rays may not provide sufficient information. In this case, it may be necessary to take magnetic resonance (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) and look for signs of inflammation and HLA B27, which is a genetic predisposition molecule, in blood tests.

Is Ankylosing Spondylitis a Hereditary Disease?

If a person with ankylosing spondylitis carries the HLA B27 gene, he or she passes the predisposition to his or her children. However, passing the predisposition does not necessarily mean that the patient’s child will develop ankylosing spondylitis. It just increases the risk of developing the disease. The risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis for a person with a family history of this disease increases 20 times compared to other people.

How Is It Treated?

The most important part of the treatment is medications. The disease is mostly treated with anti-inflammatory painkillers, drugs specific to rheumatism treatment, and biological agents that have begun to be used in recent years. Very successful results are being achieved in parallel with the developments in the pharmaceutical industry.
Exercise is as important as medication in treatment. Exercise is especially necessary to maintain the elasticity of the spine. With the disease, the spine becomes immobile and rigid. In order to prevent this, it is necessary to exercise the spine. Swimming, fitness, yoga and muscle building exercises are useful in the treatment of the disease.
Ozone therapy and anti-inflammatory diet treatments, which have been implemented recently, also positively affect the course of the disease.