7 Complications of Ankylosing Spondylitis and How To Avoid Them?

Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints particularly of the lower back in between the spine and pelvis. These joints often become swollen and inflamed with time. This can cause pain and stiffness in the lower back, and eventually, over time, it leads to the fusion of bones in the spine. The disease is much more common in men than in women.  
Anyone diagnosed with AS should be well aware of the complications that it can cause to your health. The main symptoms of AS are pain and stiffness in your lower back and buttocks, but this disease can also cause long-term problems in various parts of your body, including your eyes and heart. As this condition progresses, inflammation can contribute to other complications that can affect a person’s life. Some of the major complications are listed below - 

  • Eye problems (inflammation)  

As it progresses, the chronic inflammation may occur in the eyes instead of the spine which then causes pain in the eyes. Eyes can also become red or puffy. Eye inflammation which is also named as uveitis can show various symptoms, such as swollen, painful eyes that may be red or enlarged. In some cases, it can also cause blurred and impaired vision, sensitivity to light (photophobia), and severe pain. Wearing dark glasses can help in relieving the symptoms. There are various ayurvedic procedures or therapies that help in reducing eye inflammation. To know more about Uveitis treatment, click here

  • Reduced flexibility 

The damage to the spine and joints caused by chronic inflammation can restrict the movement of the muscles and bones over time. Moreover, the fusion of bones due to AS can cause the bones to become stiff. By practicing regular stretching and exercises can help in making the body more flexible and mobile.

  •  Fatigue

Ankylosing spondylitis is caused by inflammatory markers called cytokines that are present in the body and can be the cause of tiredness. Hence it is one of the common symptoms of AS. This may get worse because the body is using a lot of energy to keep this inflammation aside. Fatigue can also leave a person feeling drained of energy. Regular exercise, or swimming, can also help in relieving fatigue and improve a person’s quality of life.

  • Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disorder of bone that makes the bones less dense than normal. This disorder occurs when the body loses too much bone or makes too little bone. The bones, however, become weak and brittle enough and become prone to breakage. This disease can occur in the bones and joints of people with AS, increasing their risk of spinal injury. Certain medications are helpful in treating people with AS and osteoporosis symptoms. Therefore treating AS correctly will help in preventing bone loss.

  • Gastrointestinal disorders 

The inflammation caused by AS may spread to the intestinal tract causing pain in the stomach. It may also lead to various digestive issues. This inflammation in the intestinal tract and bowels can cause troubles like pain and ulcers in the stomach, diarrhea, etc. In some cases of AS, inflammation can also spread from the spine and hips to the intestinal tract. More severe cases may lead to conditions, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Some dietary precautions, regular exercise, and natural medications can help to control inflammation.

  • Increased risk of heart disease

Inflammation caused by AS can also cause various types of heart problems. Cardiovascular issues that AS contributes include - aortitis, aortic valve disease, conduction problems, ischemic heart disease, and cardiomyopathy. Inflammation in the aorta of the heart can prevent this artery from carrying enough blood to the body. It can also damage the aortic valves or the channel that keeps blood flowing in the body through the heart. There are various medications and exercises to help control inflammation in the aorta.

  • Cauda equina syndrome

This is the rare complication caused by the Ankylosing spondylitis. The inflammation can cause the pressure on a bundle of nerves called the cauda equina at the bottom of your spinal cord. This swelling can compact the nerves in the lower back and cause symptoms such as:

  1. pain and numbness
  2. stinging or tingling sensations in the legs
  3. inability to walk
  4. incontinence

Cauda equina syndrome can become a serious condition if it is left untreated, and can lead to paralysis and other severe issues. The condition usually requires immediate and emergency surgery in the allopathy, but we can prevent the surgery and other over the counter medicines by treating with various ayurvedic therapies and procedures such as – Snehapana, Abhyangam, Virechana, Nasyam, Tharpana and Netradhara etc. These ayurvedic therapies have the ultimate power to cure the disease with help of herbal decoctions, that too without any side effects. Know how Ayurveda treats Ankylosing Spondylitis naturally.

Dr. Sandeep Verma

Dr. Sandeep Verma is a Chronic Disease Specialist treating chronic diseases and promoting tips and ways to prevent severe ailments. Know More

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