Medifocus Guidebook on Ankylosing Spondylitis

A Comprehensive Patient Guide to Symptoms, Treatment, Research, and Support

Updated: January 15, 2018
157 Pages


What is Anklylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis is a member of a group of rheumatic diseases that affects the mobility of the spine, collectively known as spondyloarthropathies. Spondyloarthropathies are a group of related inflammatory joint diseases associated almost exclusively with the presence of a genetic marker called HLA-B27 and are characterized specifically by sacroiliac joint involvement in addition to other symptoms. Spondyloarthropathies affect the axial joints (vertebral column, ribs, and the sternum) and can also involve peripheral joints (e.g., feet and shoulders). The clinical features of the spondyloarthropathies are distinct from other rheumatologic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Although ankylosing spondylitis affects each individual differently in symptom severity and disease progression, the primary symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis typically include back pain and back stiffness, especially in the morning. Chronic inflammation and irritation of the spinal joints (vertebrae) cause changes to those joints, since the body's natural process of healing and repair following inflammation can result in extra bone formation that eventually may lead to fusion of the vertebrae. The stiffening of the joints due to abnormal fusion is referred to as ankylosis. Thus if a person has severe ankylosing spondylitis for many years, the continuous inflammation and process of repair leads to bony fusion of ligaments in the spine and sometimes other joints as well.

Ankylosing spondylitis is characterized by enthesitis - inflammation at the junction where the joint capsule, tendons, and ligaments attach to the bone. In addition to the sacroiliac joint, enthesitis can take place in multiple sites called "hot spots" and may lead to painful swelling and tenderness. Subchondral tissue (smooth tissue at the ends of bones) becomes granulomatous (characterized by small or granular nodular inflammatory lesions) and is infiltrated with various types of immune cells such as plasma cells and lymphocytes. Joints that are affected show markings of sclerosis (hardening of tissue) and irregular erosion. The tissue is gradually replaced with fibrous cartilage and becomes ossified (bony) leading to ankylosis. Outer muscle fibers of the spine are replaced by bone which eventually fuses the vertebrae. When this process ascends the spine in the later stages of disease, the spine becomes a bony column and is often referred to as a "bamboo spine". Progression of the disease to this point, however, is rare.

The degree of fusion in ankylosing spondylitis can range from partial fusion (e.g., limited to the pelvic bones) to fusion of the entire spine. In its later stages, ankylosing spondylitis may cause total loss of spinal mobility and function, significantly impacting the individual's quality of life. Since bone formed during fusion is inherently weak, there is an increased risk of spinal fracture for patients with ankylosing spondylitis.

Knowledge is Critical when Dealing with a Life-Altering Condition such as Ankylosing Spondylitis

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, it's critical to learn everything you possibly can about this condition so that you can make informed decisions about your treatment. That's why we created the Medifocus Guidebook on Ankylosing Spondylitis, a comprehensive 157 page patient Guidebook that contains vital information about ankylosing spondylitis that you won't find anywhere in a single source.

The Medifocus Guidebook on Ankylosing Spondylitis starts out with a detailed overview of the condition and quickly imparts fundamentally important information about ankylosing spondylitis, including:

  • The underlying causes of ankylosing spondylitis
  • The risk factors that can increase a person's chances for developing ankylosing spondylitis.
  • The signs and symptoms associated with ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Joint-related complications that can occur in people with progressive ankylosing spondylitis, including complications that can affect the:

    • Sacroiliac joint
    • Hip joint
    • Shoulder joint
    • Knee joint
    • Ankle joint
  • Non-joint related complications that may develop in people with progressive ankylosing spondylitis, which may include:

    • Fatigue
    • Uveitis - inflammation of the uvea of the eye
    • Iritis - inflammation of the iris of the eye
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Osteoporosis
    • Pulmonary (lung) complications
    • Kidney complications
    • Neurologic complications
  • How ankylosing spondylitis is diagnosed based on factors such as signs/symptoms, patient history, physical examination, and imaging studies.

  • A detailed overview of the Bath Index tests - a battery of tests that doctors use to measure the level of function and disease activity in people with ankylosing spondylitis.

Understanding the Standard Treatments... and the Treatment Options

The primary goals of treatment for patients with ankylosing spondylitis are as follows:

  • Controlling the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Preventing further progression of the disease.
  • Managing secondary complications, if they occur.
  • Maximizing the patient's functional capacity.
  • Enabling the patient to maintain a reasonably good quality of life.

Understanding the standard treatments - and the treatment options - is critical for successfully achieving the goals of treatment for ankylosing spondylitis. As you read through the section of the Guidebook that focuses on the treatments for ankylosing spondylitis, you will specifically learn about:

  • The medications that are commonly prescribed to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation in people with ankylosing spondylitis, which may include:

    • Non-steroidal ant-inflammatory agents (NSAID's)
    • Disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD's)
    • Corticosteroids
    • Biphosphonates
    • Anti-TNF alpha agents
  • The role of exercise, physiotherapy, and balneotherapy (spa therapy) in the management of patients with ankylosing spondylitis.

  • The management of secondary complications that can develop in people with ankylosing spondylitis, including both joint-related complications and non-joint related complications.
  • The role of surgery in the management of ankylosing spondylitis.
  • A detailed overview of evidence-based recommendations published by an international expert panel in 2006 for the evaluation, monitoring, and treatment of patients with ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Recommendations for important lifestyle modifications that can help people with ankylosing spondylitis to better control their symptoms, including:

    • Home modifications
    • Workplace modifications
    • Sleep modifications
    • General lifestyle modifications
  • The prognosis (outlook) for people with ankylosing spondylitis and the important factors that have a significant impact in predicting the overall chances of recovery.

  • Quality of life issues that often confront people with ankylosing spondylitis and how to minimize their impact and cope better with these issues.
  • Important questions to ask your doctor about ankylosing spondylitis.

A "One-of-a-Kind" Reference Guidebook on Ankylosing Spondylitis that Goes Way Beyond the Fundamentals

Since 1996, when Medifocus was founded, we've learned that many people with Ankylosing Spondylitis are seeking more specific information that goes beyond the fundamentals, such as the causes, diagnosis, standard treatments, and treatment options. That's why we developed a "one-of-a-kind" reference Guidebook that goes way beyond the basics and also includes the following sections:

  • A Guide to Recent Medical Literature on Ankylosing Spondylitis - This section of the Guidebook contains an extensive bibliography of over 100 references to recently published articles about Ankylosing Spondylitis in authoritative, peer-reviewed medical journals with links to the absracts (summaries) of the articles. These articles represent the latest advances in the field and focus on cutting-edge research, new developments, and the lessons learned from recently published clinical trials involving patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis. This is the same level of that is used by doctors who treat people with Ankylosing Spondylitis to keep abreast of the latest developments and breakthroughs in this specialized field of medicine.

  • Centers of Research for Ankylosing Spondylitis - We've compiled a unique directory of doctors, hospitals, medical centers, and research institutions with special interest and, in many cases, clinical expertise in managing people with Ankylosing Spondylitis. The "Centers of Research" directory is a valuable resource for quickly identifying and locating leading medical authorities and medical institutions both within the United States and other countries who are considered to be at the forefront in clinical research and treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis. You'd have to spend days - or even weeks - attempting to compile your own list of doctors and medical centers but, with the "Centers of Research" directory, the information is already right at your fingertips. All you have to do is act on the information by selecting and contacting the experts or medical institutions listed in the directory by state and country.

  • Organizations and Support Groups for Ankylosing Spondylitis - The Guidebook also includes a directory of organizations and support groups whose goal is to help people with Ankylosing Spondylitis by providing access to information, resources, and services. Many of these organizations can answer your specific questions, enable you to "network" with other patients, and provide guidance in areas such as financial, social, or medical-legal issues. This valuable directory of organizations and support groups includes complete contact information, including phone numbers and E-mail addresses.

Look Inside the Guidebook

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Still not sure if you'll benefit from the Medifocus Guidebook on Ankylosing Spondylitis? Still not convinced that the information included in the Guidebook is worth the minimal cost? If that's the case, then please consider the following value-added proposition that comes standard with your purchase of the Guidebook:

  • Free Updates for One Year - With your initial purchase of the Guidebook, you also receive access to free updates for one-full year. The Guidebook is updated with new information every 4 to 6 months, so that you will be able to access the updated information several times during the course of a year for up to one full year after the date of your initial purchase.

  • Free Digest E-Mail Alerts - When you purchase the Guidebook, you will also automatically receive a free subscription to our monthly newsletter - the Medifocus Digest Alert for Ankylosing Spondylitis. This is an expertly selected listing of the latest articles published in the medical literature about Ankylosing Spondylitis with convenient links to the abstracts of the articles that focus on cutting-edge research, clinical trials, and the latest treatment advances. The Medifocus Digest Alert for Ankylosing Spondylitis is automatically delivered straight to your "inbox" monthly and is a valuable resource for keeping up with the latest developments in Ankylosing Spondylitis almost as soon as the new information is published in the medical literature.

  • 20% Discount - For a limited time, you can purchase the Medifocus Guidebook on Ankylosing Spondylitis at a special 20% discount off the regular list price. Your 20% discount will automatically be applied when you go to "Checkout".

  • Risk-Free Satisfaction Guarantee - Your purchase comes with our RISK-FREE satisfaction guarantee. If, for whatever reason, you are not totally satisfied with the content of your Guidebook, simply contact us within 30-days of your purchase for a prompt, full refund. We are so confident that you will be satisfied with your Guidebook that we offer this RISK-FREE satisfaction guarantee unconditionally - no questions and no hassles.

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The Medifocus Guidebook on Ankylosing Spondylitis (157 pages; last updated January 15, 2018) is available in the following two convenient formats:

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Medifocus Guidebook on Ankylosing Spondylitis

Updated: January 15, 2018
157 Pages

This one of a kind Guidebook offers:

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What Our Customers Are Saying...

"I'm writing to express my gratitude for the valuable information you provided in the MediFocus Guidebook on Ankylosing Spondylitis. The Guidebook was not only very well written but it also listed several newer medications for AS that my doctor had never mentioned. Without your Guidebook, I would never have known about these newer treatment options. Thanks again for helping me become better educated about this condition."
Fresno, California

"Your MediFocus Guidebook on Ankylosing Spondylitis is by far the most detailed and up-to-date publication about this condition that I have come across. Educating yourself about ankylosing spondylitis is an important aspect of controlling the symptoms and help you maintain a reasonably active lifestyle...your Guidebook certainly provides practical information that all patients with ankylosing spondylitis can put to good use."
Raleigh, North Carolina

Medifocus Guidebook on Ankylosing Spondylitis

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