Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a rare type of chronic arthritis of the spine that causes inflammation, pain, and stiffness between your vertebrae. The disease develops because of chronic inflammation in the body. It is an autoimmune disease where the immune system backfires and causes the body to attack normal tissue, causing pain and stiffness. 

Researchers are working hard to find out the actual cause of Ankylosing Spondylitis, but it is still not clear. But then again, several factors play a role in developing the disease, such as genetics, environmental factors, and the immune system. 

What are the Ankylosing Spondylitis Risk Factors?

Some factors may increase the risk of developing AS and knowing them can help you watch out for them before they affect the body. Let us know those risk factors in detail.

  • Genes: According to the researchers, certain genes like HLA-B27 play a role in developing AS. It is a part of a family of genes called the human leukocyte (HLA) complex, which plays a role in helping the immune system differentiate between the proteins of the body and the ones that are made by bacteria and viruses. The gene has various variations, but a person with HLA-B27 is more likely to develop AS. Although you can have AS without being HLA-B27 positive, it is not only caused by genes but various other risk factors are also involved. 
  • Sex: AS is considered a “men’s disease” as its tendency to develop in men is double as compared to women. Also, the symptoms in men can be more severe than in women.
  • Age: People in their teens, 20s, or 30s are more likely to be diagnosed with this disease. According to the research, 80% of people develop their first symptoms before the age of 30. Even children below the age of 15 can be diagnosed with this disease. 
  • Environmental Factors: Some of the environmental factors may increase the risk of developing AS in many people, but they are still not very well understood. More research is needed to understand how environmental factors can contribute to the symptoms of AS. Some of them include pollutants, some kinds of infection, bowel inflammation, certain injuries to affected joints, bacterial changes in the colon, etc.

How to Ease the Pain and Inflammation Caused by AS?

  • To start with, always have a healthy and nutritious diet. Try to include an anti-inflammatory diet like plant-based foods that help fight inflammation. Strictly avoid processed meat and other foods that are high in fat and sugar.
  • Always do regular exercise and maintain a healthy body weight. Obesity and excessive weight in the body increase pressure on the joints and bones and increase the risk of AS.
  • Alcohol is dangerous to health and excessive consumption of it increases the risk of bone weakening and osteoporosis. 
  • Smoking is also injurious to health, and excessive intake of tobacco can also accelerate spinal damage and cause pain. For healthy living, quit smoking as soon as possible. 
  • Take all the essential medications prescribed by your healthcare provider regularly.
Author's Bio: 

Initially based in Mumbai Graduate student of data sciences I used to write on different topics which I like most such as Technology, Educational, and Financial.