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Young men more prone to Ankylosing Spondylitis

ANI | Updated: Nov 23, 2018 13:39 IST

New Delhi, [India] Nov 23 (ANI): Young adults in their late twenties and early thirties are experiencing a chronic condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). AS is a condition which can affect anyone, but primarily it impacts young males in their teenage and the age group of 20-30 years.
It is an irreversible, inflammatory and autoimmune disease which occurs when an overgrowth of the bones results in the spine's bones fusing together which results in a rigidity of the spine.
Prevalent amongst 1 in 100 of the adult population, AS also affects bones of the neck, back, inner thighs, hips and can severely disrupt mobility and cause damage to a person's posture.
If left undiagnosed and untreated, the disease can lead to structural damage and can bend the spine and neck to an extent where it may become impossible for one to lift their head high enough to see what's in front of the spine. This is known as 'structural damage progression.' The pain occurs usually during mornings, especially 30-45 minutes after waking up. The pain can last up to 90 days, even after a patient starts taking painkillers.
Most people with AS have a gene called HLA-B27. In most cases, the gene is ruled out as an absolute cause of Ankylosing Spondylitis, but it contributes to it.
"Ankylosing spondylitis is a disease that usually affects young men and most patients are of an age less than 40 years. While pain in the lower back is the most common symptom, it gets worse when the patient is resting or sleeping, and it improves upon performing activities or while exercising," said Dr. Sushant Shinde, a consultant physician with Quest Clinic, Mumbai.
"As the disease progresses, stiffness can impact the upper back as well as the neck. As the joints in the spine undergo long-term damage it leads to severe complications where the back loses its flexibility and in specific cases, the patients are left wheelchair-bound," added Shinde.
Painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroids are used to ease inflammation and accompanying pain. However, these may not provide long-term relief. Medical experts also recommend newer and advanced treatment options like biologics, more specifically a certain category of biologics that help slow down structural damage progression of AS.
"Commonly used painkillers prescribed by consulting doctors can help reduce pain and provide relief, albeit for short-term. Newer and more effective drugs such as biologics are known to be effective in the treatment and help curb further progression of this condition. Biologics have dramatically transformed the lives of millions of people with AS worldwide and are now also available in India", added Dr. Bimlesh Dhar Pandey, Senior Consultant, Rheumatologist, Fortis, Noida.
In addition to this, patients are advised to undergo physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, and exercise and posture modification to improve their quality of life.
Self-help and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is equally significant for the management of AS. Stretching exercises and hot showers help ease morning stiffness in the joints. Patients are also advised to maintain a healthy weight to avoid exerting any strain on their joints. Additionally, maintaining good posture is crucial to control the severity of inflammation and pain among AS patients.(ANI)