Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an inflammatory form of arthritis that preferentially attacks the spine. Many people are under the impression it’s one of the less serious forms of arthritis. Uh-uh. Unfortunately, it has a number of potential complications associated with it. These include:
- Acute eye inflammation, termed “uveitis”, in one-third of patients. Symptoms include pain, redness, blurred vision, light sensitivity, and if left untreated, blindness.
- Osteoporosis occurring in a significant number of patients. This is a condition where the bones become brittle and more likely to fracture.
- Approximately 10-15% of patients have inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis.
- Skin involvement occurs in as many as a quarter of patients. The most common skin condition is psoriasis.
- AS can lead to conduction abnormalities in the heart as well as inflammation of the aorta.
- Fibrosis of the lungs can cause restrictive lung disease.
- Neurologic complications are due to compression of the spinal cord and can be life-threatening.
- Long term ankylosing spondylitis can cause a condition called amyloidosis of the kidneys leading to kidney failure.
Comment: Not such a benign condition is it?
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