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Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), Neurologic Perspective

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) Neurologic Overview

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a long-term disease that affects the joints near the center of the body, especially the spine and sacroiliac joints. The sacroiliac joints are located at the lowest end of the spine where the sacrum meets the iliac bone in the pelvis. AS can lead to eventual fusion of the spine. Peripheral joints away from the spine, such as the hips and knees, may also be involved.

AS also frequently involves inflammation at the points where the ligaments and tendons insert into the bones. As it progressively affects the spine, it can cause rigidity of the spine and loss of flexibility. It may also cause pain and stiffness in the hips, knees, and occasionally the small joints of the feet. Inflammation of the connective tissue of the undersurface of the foot (plantar fasciitis) may also occur. Chest wall cartilage inflammation can cause chest pain and tenderness.

Nonskeletal problems associated with AS may include fatigue, inflammation of the iris or uvea (the colored portion of the eye), and less commonly inflammation of the aorta, scarring of the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis), amyloidosis (excess deposition of an abnormal protein in organs and tissues), and inflammatory bowel disease.

AS is more common in males than in females. The male-to-female ratio is approximately 3:1. The peak onset is in adolescents and young adults 15-30 years of age.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017

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Corticosteroids for Anklosing Spondylitis

Drugs in this class include prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol, Depo-Medrol), betamethasone (Celestone, Soluspan), cortisone (Cortone), dexamethasone (Decadron), prednisolone (Delta-Cortef), and triamcinolone (Aristocort).

  • How corticosteroids work: These drugs decrease swelling and inflammation by suppressing immune response.
  • Who should not use these medications: People with the following conditions should not use corticosteroids:
    • Allergy to corticosteroids
    • Active infections caused by viruses, fungi, or Mycobacterium tuberculosis
    • Active peptic ulcer disease
    • Liver impairment

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