Indore: “There is an alarming increase in the incidence of ankylosing spondylitis amongst young Indians in the age group of 20-30 years,” renowned rheumatologist Dr Ashish Badika said. Addressing a press conference over the diseases on Thursday, Dr Badika said, “The number is increasing but as it is an auto immune disease, we can only say that the number is increasing due to increase in awareness among people.”
However, he added that men are more affected by the disease than women. “Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is an irreversible, inflammatory and autoimmune disease that affects the spinal cord. In AS, overgrowth in the spine bone cause them to fuse together to form a rigid spine,” he explained.
Talking about prevalence of the disease, Dr Badika added, “AS is prevalent amongst 1 in 100 of the adult population. The condition can impact bones of the neck, back, inner thighs, hips and can severely disrupt mobility and cause damage to the posture.”
The rheumatologist added that the on leaving the disease undiagnosed and untreated, it can bend the spine and neck to an extent that it may become impossible for one to lift their head high enough to see forward. “Cause of the disease remains unknown, AS is believed to be a result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
In my clinical experience, more than 90 per cent of those affected have the HLA-B27 gene, which is the gene responsible for AS. This means that one can easily be at the risk of AS if their parent or sibling has the condition,” he added. In AS, the pain occurs usually during mornings, especially 30-45 minutes after waking up and can last up to 90 days or more despite taking painkillers.
Symptoms of AS:
Early morning pain and stiffness in the lower back that lasts over 45 minutes
Back pain or stiffness in the joints that persists over 90 days even with medication
Sudden shooting pain in the back, joints, hips and thighs
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