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It's World AS Day. Raising awareness for Ankylosing Spondylitis

By Micki Hogan     May 4, 2013 in Health
Awareness advocates around the world are in full swing today when it comes to raising awareness of Ankylosing Spondylitis. Today, May 4th, is World AS Day.
Ankylosing Spondylitis is a little known disease that is beginning to make it's way to the public eye. Through years of diligence AS advocates like the Spondylitis Association of America have fought hard to raise awareness to what was once believed to be a rare disease. As awareness has spread many AS patients have formed a network world wide that has brought the disease to center stage. May 4th has been declared Word AS Day. By spreading awareness, it is the hopes of patients world wide that one day there will be better treatment options and hopefully one day a cure.
What is Ankylosing Spondylitis you may ask? The wikipedia link helps explain the disease in detail. The autoimmune disease commonly referred to as AS is a systematic disease that primarily effects the bones of the body.It has been documented that nearly three millions cases of AS have been reported world wide. With numbers that may be higher considering the difficulty of diagnosis. It has been documented that the spine is generally the focal point of the disease but it also effects the ribcage, hips, and other joints of the body. The disease is autoimmune. This causes the body to think the healthy parts of the body are ill and the white cells try to heal the healthy part affected by the AS. In short the white cells an average person depends on to fight illnesses become an AS patient's foe. The white cells attack the body. Often in an AS patient the body will also grow new bones trying to heal parts of the spine and other joints. This can lead to spinal fusion. Sometimes the patient will lose full mobility of the spine which is often referred to as a bamboo spine.
AS also can effect other internal organs, primarily the eyes, heart, and lungs. Complications in the digestive track have also been documented quite often and at times the patient develops a secondary autoimmune disease like Chron's disease. AS patients have been known to have vitamin deficiency issues including potassium and Vitamin D. It can take several years for a proper diagnosis. It is a disease that doesn't present itself right away and often patients are left feeling the chronic pain of the disease without knowing they are in fact suffering from the auto immune disease. Often diagnosis only comes after the gene marking test called HLAB27. A high percentage of AS sufferers have the genetic marker and the disease is believed to be hereditary.
Through awareness, many patients have discovered they are not alone when fighting this disease. Awareness is needed to help bring funding to the research of this disease. Help support advocates world wide by checking out their websites and discover the truth behind Ankylosing Spondylitis. The provided video is the award winning promotional video from the Spondylitis Association of America in 2010. Below are a few websites dedicated to the awareness of Ankylosing Spondylitis.
United Voices of Ankylosing Spondylitis
National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society
Spondylitis Association of America
More about Ankylosing spondylitis, Ankylosing spondylitis awareness project, Autoimmune diseases, bamboo spine, biologic treament
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