Description, Causes and Risk Factors:
Arthritis and osteitis deformans involving the spinal column; marked by nodular deposits at the edges of the intervertebral disks with ossification of the ligaments and bony ankylosis of the intervertebral articulations, it results in a rounded kyphosis with rigidity.
The exact cause of the disease of Bechterew is currently unknown but it is clear that genetic factors play an important role.
If you have a Bechterew patient in your family, you will have 50% more risk of developing the disorder yourself. It is therefore highly likely that several family members also have the disease.
90 to 95% percent of Bechterew patients have the genetic factor HLA-B27 in their blood. This stands for 'Human Leucocytes Antigen' a type of blood group (white blood cells). HLA-B27 is also present in several other joint and bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease. However, this presence of gene defect does not necessarily mean that the disease will effectively develop. Whether or not Bechterew's disease will develop still remains a mystery.
Other genetic data about Bechterew's disease:
Men are four times more likely to have the disorder compared to women.
A child with a Bechterew parent has 10% more chance of developing the disorder.
Certain bacterial infections in the human body (e.g. in the bowels or the urinary tract) could apparently cause the development of Bechterew in people who are sensitive to the disease.
2 out of 1000 people suffer Bechterew's.
There are several signs and symptoms that you may experience with Bechterew's disease. Some of the beginning signs and symptoms of this disease are stiffness and pain in your hips and lower back. Later on, this stiffness may include your feet, knees and shoulders. In the advanced stages of Bechterew's disease, signs and symptoms that you may have are:
Restricted expansion of your chest.
Unintentional weight loss.
Loss of appetite.
The diagnosis of Bechterew disease is based on the patient's symptoms, a physical examination, x-ray findings and blood tests. The changes on X-ray are apparent only in the later stages of the disease. magnetic resonance scan (MRI) is helpful to diagnose the disease in its early stages and also to delineate the severity.
The earlier Bechterew disease is treated, the better. Once joints fuse (become joined together and rigid), mobility won't completely return even with treatment. Drugs may relieve the pain it causes.
Usually, Bechterew disease is treated with:
Drug therapy: This includes over-the-counter drugs that relieve pain (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and piroxicam). It can also include drugs that modify rheumatic diseases (such as sulfasalazine and methotrexate and corticosteroids like prednisone. Researchers are also looking at promising, new drugs, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers etanercept and infliximab.
Physical therapy to help reduce pain and stiffness and help preserve back mobility.
NOTE: The above information is for processing purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.
Sources: Excerpted from various sources.
DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.
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