17 Effects of Ankylosing Spondylitis on the body

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that primarily affects the spine areas, but it has affected all over the body. The joints and ligaments of your spine become inflamed which can cause back pain and stiffness. AS can affect various other joints, and in some cases, it can damage your eyes, heart, or lungs. There are prevalent effects of AS on all major parts and systems of the body that are to be taken care of. The 17 effects of Ankylosing spondylitis on the body systems are described below-

Skeletal system

  • The main target area of AS is the spine region.
  • One of the first symptoms of AS is felt in the spine, particularly in the lower back. Pain in these locations affects about 1 in 3 people. The pain can also spread to your groin, knees, or the front of your thighs.
  • It can also create trouble movements and reflex actions.

Nervous system

  • Ankylosing spondylitis can affect the nervous system as well.
  • Severe cases of AS can result in the formation of scars in the bundle of nerves in the body.
  • This can lead to various problems such as lack of bowel control, and sexual dysfunction. The effects on the nervous system can cause problems in the eye.
  • Eye inflammation can occur in some cases with AS. An individual may also feel pressure and pain in the eyes and maybe sensitive to light. If you notice pain or redness, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Serious complications can arise, including – incontinence, sexual problems, urine retention, leg pain and weakness.

Skin, hair, nails

  • The minor parts of your body such as skin, hair and nails can also get affected due to AS.
  • People with AS may also develop psoriasis.
  • Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disorder that causes red, scaly patches on the skin. These patches can appear on the scalp, elbows, and knees and can even form lesions.
  • This can cause itchiness, tenderness, burning, and stinging.
  • Circulatory system – Ankylosing spondylitis can cause inflammation which has the probability of spreading over the aorta, which is the biggest artery in your body.
  • This can restrict the aorta from functioning normally, leading to numerous heart problems.

Respiratory system

  • Ankylosing spondylitis also affects the respiratory system of your body.
  • It causes stiffness between the ribs and spine which prevents your chest from expanding and further make it hard to breathe, officials reported.
  • There could also be trouble of chest pain from scar tissue around your rib joints.
  •  Some people also develop scarring or fibrosis at the top of their lungs.

Stomach and bowel problems

  • There are certain stomach and bowel problems caused by AS.
  • People can often experience inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and bowels either before the onset of joint symptoms or during the occurrence of this disease.
  • This can lead to stomach pain, diarrhea, and digestive problems.
  • It can also cause ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease in some cases.

Overall health

  • AS can have effects on the overall health of the patient.
  • People with AS suffer from fatigue which is a major concern. Sleep disrupted by pain can be a contributing factor of fatigue. Healthy lifestyle choices will help keep you in overall good health.
  • Inflammation caused due to AS may spread to the joints and cartilage in your ribcage. Over time, the bones in your ribcage may club, making it difficult or painful to breathe.
  • AS can also affect the jawbones and could lead to problems with eating and drinking.