ALL Photos Copyright 2017 Nawfal Johnson ~All Rights Reserved.
“What is ankylosing spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis that affects the spine. Ankylosing means stiff or rigid, spondyl means spine, and itis refers to inflammation. The disease causes inflammation of the spine and large joints, resulting in stiffness and pain. The disease may result in erosion at the joint between the spine and the hip bone. This is called the sacroiliac joint. It may also cause bony bridges to form between vertebrae in the spine, fusing those bones. Bones in the chest may also fuse.
What causes ankylosing spondylitis?
The cause of AS is not known, but researchers think that genes play a role. A gene called HLA-B27 happens in over 95% of Caucasian Americans who have AS, but only 50% of African Americans who have the disease. However, some people with the HLA-B27 gene do not have AS.
Who is at risk for ankylosing spondylitis?
AS is more common among people ages 17 to 35. It can happen in children and older adults as well. The disease affects more young men than women. It tends to run in families.
What are the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis?
Symptoms of AS tend to go away and come back over periods of time. Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each person. The symptoms may include:
Back pain, usually most severe at night during rest
Early morning stiffness
Stooped posture in response to back pain (bending forward tends to relieve the pain)
Straight and stiff spine
Inability to take a deep breath, if the joints between the ribs and spine are affected
Mild [to Severe] eye inflammation [Iritis or other eye inflammation diseases]
Organ damage, such as to the heart, lungs, and eyes
Gastrointestinal illness (such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis)
The symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis can be like other health conditions. Make sure to see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How is ankylosing spondylitis diagnosed?
The process starts with a medical history and a physical exam. Tests may also be done, such as:
X-ray. This test uses a small amount of radiation to create images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or sed rate). This test looks at how quickly red blood cells fall to the bottom of a test tube. When swelling and inflammation are present, the blood’s proteins clump together and become heavier than normal. They fall and settle faster at the bottom of the test tube. The faster the blood cells fall, the more severe the inflammation. Up to 70% of people with AS have a high ESR.
Genetic testing. Genetic testing is done to find if a person carries a copy of an altered gene for a disease. The gene HLA-B27 is found in over 95% of people with AS.”
My friend, Nadira, and one of my art photograph creations, called PELVIS V2, EDIT C.
The MOVE WITH AS Charity Run Event took place about one week ago, and it went very well. I think about RM55,000 was raised from the charity run, which will help some AS patients receive the medical treatment they need. The Charity Run was organized by NOVARTIS Corporation Malaysia and the Arthritis Foundation Malaysia.
It was quite satisfying to a part of this event. I also had my photo exhibition, of “My Life with Ankylosing Spondylitis”, at the EVOLVE CONCEPT MALL, PJ—the event venue.
Overall, it was a successful event, but of course, some improvements can be made for next time—like, for instance, giving the AS Patients who took part, a more visible roll, so people can actually get the AS information and life experiences from AS owners. That is the biggest improvement needed for this (kind of) event for AS AWARENESS.