Things Rheumatologists Want You to Know About Ankylosing Spondylitis
Protect Your Heart
“People with ankylosing spondylitis need to maintain good health because of the increased risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease,” Askanase says. These complications include arrhythmias, valve diseases, cardiomyopathy (weakened heart muscle), and atherosclerosis, according to the Spondylitis Association of America. Think about protecting your whole body, inside and out. It’s especially important to work closely with your doctor to manage risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure levels.
Be Extra Careful Not to Get Injured
Ankylosing spondylitis causes inflammation that leads to the breakdown of bone, followed by new bone growth on the spine. In very severe cases, it can cause the spine to fuse. Yet despite this type of growth, osteoporosis is a common complication, according to the Spondylitis Association of America, and your spine can actually be quite brittle. “Just a little bump could cause a fracture that could be catastrophic,” Sergent explains. Part of ankylosing spondylitis management is taking steps to protect yourself from injury. Always make sure you fasten your seatbelt in the car and don’t climb up on ladders or put yourself in any situation where you could easily fall.