The most common early symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis include the following symptoms:
Pain and stiffness: Constant pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips is experienced for more than three months.
Bony fusion: Ankylosing spondylitis can cause an overgrowth of the bones, which may lead to abnormal joining of bones, called "bony fusion". This fusion leads to stiffness and restriction of movements.
Pain in ligaments and tendons: Spondylitis may also affect some of the ligaments and tendons that attach to the bones. This could lead to pain and stiffness of the joints.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a multi-system disease, which means the symptoms may not be limited to the joints. The patient may also experience fever, tiredness and loss of appetite. Redness and pain in the eyes are experienced by some people with ankylosing spondylitis. In rare cases, lung and heart problems may also develop.
Five warning signs for ankylosing spondylitis:
In severe cases of ankylosing spondylitis, new bone forms as part of the body's attempt to heal. This new bone gradually bridges the gap between the vertebrae and eventually fuses sections of the vertebrae together. Those parts of your spine become stiff and inflexible.
Other complications may include the following:
Eye inflammation (uveitis) -One of the most common complications of ankylosing spondylitis is the sudden onset of pain in the eyes. Should this occur, immediate medical attention is advised.
Compression fractures -Some people experience a thinning of their bones during the early stages of ankylosing spondylitis. Fractures of the bones of the spine sometimes can damage the spinal cord and the nerves that pass through the spine.
Heart problems - Ankylosing spondylitis can lead to heart problems. The inflammation of some part of the heart can change the shape of the heart and cause disturbance in it normal functioning.
The jaw - About 10%of the people with spondylitis experience inflammation of the jaw. This can be particularly causing difficulty in fully opening the mouth to eat.
The chest - In ankylosing spondylitis-related chest pains the patient is unable to practise the critical deep breathing exercises, due to stiffness in the rib joints.
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