Ankylosing spondylitis part of a larger family of arthritis called spondyloarthritis. Spondylo means vertebra or the bones of the back. And arthritis, of course, means joint pain, stiffness, or swelling. Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammation type of arthritis. It affects the spine, predominantly, the spine and the sacroiliac joints. It can manifest in other ways, but it’s predominantly a spine inflammation type of arthritis.
It is classically a disease that begins insidiously, which means quietly and slowly. The patient may not know they have it. Only over years, they may realize that they’ve lost mobility and increasing pain starts to become a feature. Typically it is starting younger adult age. Classically, the definition for the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis should be age of onset less than 45 years. For the more diverse general spondyloarthritis types of similar diseases, it usually is less than 45 years.
Now, in children, itmay occur less than 45, it can occur in less than 16 years of age, and that’s part of the spectrum of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. So it can occur, at any age, but typically it’s in young adults or children. There is an inherited pattern, but not everybody can tracethat in their families. So a rheumatologist will ask family history. It’s important to do that.
But sometimes we can’t trace any family history. Interestingly, there areother kinds of diseases that can be increased in a family, and will make rheumatologiststhink there’s a likelihood that we’re dealingwith a spondyloarthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis type. And that’s psoriasis,or ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease, orinflammation of the eye, we call uveitis. And those things tendto happen in families, clustering families, and oftentimes in spondyloarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. But sometimes we can’t hear that in a family history.
Most Americans report having done it atone time or another. They strain their back causing discomfort and soreness. Obviously throwing your back out stinks but soreness like this typically improves after a while. Less common and often more serious than throwing your back out is inflammatory back pain from a disease called ankylosing spondylitis.
AS for short. AS is a type of arthritis that affects the spine and sacroiliac joints in the back and pelvis causing pain and inflammation. If left untreated, AS can cause spinal joints to fuse together causing permanent damage. Unlike throwing out your back, AS is a chronic condition. With AS, pain symptoms often improve from stretching or exercise. Rest often makes it worse.
Despite being a form of arthritis, AS tends to strike in early adulthood. can also lead to symptoms beyond lower back pain like stiffness in the hips, heels,neck, and shoulders. Other problems such as inflammatory bowel disease and eye inflammation may also occur. Because treatment for other kinds of back pain and AS are different, it’s essential to get a proper diagnosis. So if you have back pain that lasts more than three months, gets better with exercise, and worsens with rest, be sure to see a doctor or rheumatologist ASAP. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can start managing your condition.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Today I am going to talk to you guys about rheumatoid arthritis. It is such a common condition and I know a lot of people out there have questions about what are some of the earliest signs and symptoms are of rheumatoid arthritis. And so that’s what we’ll talk about today. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition, it’s autoimmune.
Which means that the immune system is attacking certain tissues. And in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the body is attacking the synovium. Which is basically the lining of the membrane that surrounds the joints. And so with rheumatoid arthritis, a lot of people notice a very gradual onset of symptoms, it can be very insidious very sneaky.
One of the earliest symptoms a person might notice is pain or swelling in the small joints and by small joints, I mean the tiny joints at the base of the fingers, the knuckles and also the joints in the middle of the fingers and also at the base of the toes. Those are the first areas that rheumatoid arthritis is going to affect before it spreads to the larger joints like the hips and the shoulders. Another very common early symptom is morning stiffness. A person wakes up and they have a hard time getting moving, walking, getting out of bed and walking around and it can take 30 minutes or more for that stiffness to go away.
That’s another symptom. When a person has a lot of immune symptom activation going on or a lot of inflammation happening they might even feel sick. A general sense of malaise, fatigue, fly like symptoms, loss of appetite and sometimes even weight loss. The other thing to keep in mind with rheumatoid arthritis is that there are a lot of different types of arthritis and so don’t expect to go to the doctor and get a diagnosis in the first visit, there is a lot of testing that needs to be done to be able to figure out exactly what type of arthritis you have or if you have arthritis at all.
It’s very easy to confuse rheumatoid arthritis for something else, it’s a easy to explain it away Maybe a person thinks their finger hurts because they have been using a computer a lot or maybe a person thinks that their toes are hurting because they have been wearing high heels. But one of the biggest clues that what’s happening is in fact an inflammatory condtion like RA or rheumatoid arthritis is that there will be a symmetrical pattern to the pain, so in other words if a person has pain in their left hand over the knuckles they might have a similar pain also in their right hand and that’s a big clue.
Another clue for me as a clinition is when a person reports that they have morning stiffness that takes 30 minutes or more to go away I’m thinking that there is something deeper going on In the case of osteoarthritis or maybe just overuse at the gym you would expect the morning stiffness to go away within minutes after waking up. So if you’ve got symptoms of pain and swelling in the joints of a knuckles and the middles of the fingers or at the base of toes You’ve got morning stiffness that takes more than 30 minutes to go away.
If you’ve got the feeling of fatigue or malaise, loss of appetite. Those can all be signs that you’re dealing with rheumatoid arthritis and it’s really important to get in and get evaluated, go see your doctor so that you can start an appropriate treatment. The other big clue with rheumatoid arthritis or I should say it’s really more of a tip, is that there is a lot of correlation with rheumatoid arthritis and infections There is a lot of research now showing that certain bacteria and viruses can actually initiate and propetuate the autoimmune response that causes destruction of the joint tissue.
And so one of the things that you can do to prevent that process or to stop that process is to really take care of your gut. I have a free download for you. I highly recommend that you download our Quick Start Guide to a Healthy Gut. The link is in the description bar and that gives a lot of important information about simple things you can do to get started to protect the health of your gut, which will protect the health of your immune system, which will help you get back on track so that you can prevent RA or if you’re dealing with RA, it’ll certainly help you along your recovery. Comment down below and let me know if you guys have any more questions. Let me know what topics you guys are interested in hearing about. Type any questions you have and I’ll be happy to answer them.