Does Ankylosing Spondylitis Affect Areas Other Than the Spine?

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Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) can affect other parts of the body besides the spine.

AS is what is known as a systemic disease, which means it can affect multiple systems throughout the body.

Here are some of the other parts of the body that can be affected by AS:

Hips:

AS can cause inflammation in the hip joints, which can lead to pain and stiffness. This can make it difficult to walk or perform other activities that involve the hips.

Shoulders:

AS can also cause inflammation in the shoulder joints, which can result in pain and limited range of motion. This can make it difficult to perform tasks that require lifting or reaching.

Hands and feet:

AS can cause inflammation in the joints of the hands and feet, which can lead to pain, stiffness, and swelling. This can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as opening jars or buttons.

Eyes:

AS can cause inflammation in the eyes, a condition known as uveitis. Uveitis can cause redness, pain, and sensitivity to light. In severe cases, uveitis can lead to vision loss.

Heart and lungs:

In some cases, AS can lead to inflammation in the heart and lungs. This can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and other symptoms.

Gut:

Some people with AS may also experience gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating. This may be related to inflammation in the gut.

Knees:

AS can cause inflammation in the knee joints, which can lead to pain, swelling, and limited mobility. This can make it difficult to walk or perform activities that require bending the knees.

Ribs:

AS can cause inflammation in the joints between the ribs and spine, known as the costovertebral joints. This can lead to chest pain, difficulty breathing, and other respiratory symptoms.

Heels:

AS can cause inflammation in the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. This can cause pain and stiffness in the heel, making it difficult to walk or participate in physical activities.

Jaw:

In some cases, AS can cause inflammation in the jaw joint, known as the temporomandibular joint. This can lead to jaw pain, difficulty chewing, and other related symptoms.

Skin:

Some people with AS may develop skin rashes, particularly on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet. This is known as keratoderma blennorrhagicum and is caused by inflammation in the skin.

It’s important to note that not everyone with AS will experience all of these potential complications.

In Summary

The severity and type of symptoms can vary widely from person to person. However, it’s important to be aware of these potential complications and to work closely with a rheumatologist to manage the condition and prevent further damage.

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