Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a form of spondyloarthritis which primarily affects the spine. Ankylosing Spondylitis causes the inflammation of vertebrae leading to severe pain and discomfort. In certain cases, Ankylosing Spondylitis may lead to new bone formation in the spine, resulting in sections of the spine to fuse and take a fixed position (kind of bending forward). AS basically affects the neck and back but can also cause pain and stiffness in other joints of the body, such as feet, shoulders, hips, etc.
Various other types of spondyloarthritis that can affect the body are
- Axial Spondyloarthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Enteropathic arthritis
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Causes for Ankylosing Spondylitis
The exact reason/cause that makes a person develop Ankylosing Spondylitis is still unknown. However, studies have revealed that people with a certain genetical pattern are more prone to have this type of disease. People with Ankylosing Spondylitis are more common to carry a particular gene known as human leukocyte antigen B27 (HLA B27). However, it cannot be considered as a thumb rule, since all the people with HLA B27 need not develop Ankylosing Spondylitis. Other triggering factors, such as infection due to bacteria, can also trigger Ankylosing Spondylitis
Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis
(i) Pain in the neck and back with stiffness
(ii) Inflammation of joints, such as feet, hips, shoulders, etc.
(iii) Stiffness when waking up for the first time in the morning.
(iv) Loss of appetite
Treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis
There is no complete cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis, however, medication along with regular exercise and diet changes can help drastically in providing relief in the symptoms. Keeping aside the medication and exercise (physiotherapy), let us have a look into some of the diet improvements which can help in your treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis.
A major symptom or disease state a patient goes through while suffering from Ankylosing Spondylitis is the inflammation of body joints. Hence, it will always be wise to go for a diet that will be light on the stomach and will not aggravate inflammation. Also, importance should be given to the consumption of foods, which are rich in Calcium and that can provide enough strength to the bones.
Here are some diet tips to manage ankylosing spondylitis.
- Eat Green Leafy Vegetables and Fruits: A diet rich in green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits should be at top of your priority when it comes to diet when dealing with Ankylosing Spondylitis. Include fruits, such as apple, in your diet.
- Have Food items rich in Vitamin C and D: Vitamin C rich food items, such as broccoli, cereals, etc. and foods abundant in Vitamin D, such as fishes, should be taken in adequate proportions. Calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, should be included in your diet.
- Say NO to Alcohol: Consuming alcohol will only aggravate the inflammation inside the body. Try avoiding alcohol if you’re an alcoholic.
- Minimize Intake of Sugar and Salt: Try to minimize the quantity of your sugar, salt, and fat intake by reducing your dependency on chocolates, sugar pastries, salted food items, hydrogenated oil, deep-fried meat, deep-fried fish, etc.
- Maintain Water Equilibrium: Maintain the water equilibrium inside the body by ensuring a sufficient intake of water (kind of 1 to 2 liters) in a day.
- Include Omega–3 Fatty Acids in Diet: Omega-3 fatty acids have got good inflammation-fighting capabilities. Food items, such as fishes like salmon, eggs, nuts such as almonds, walnuts, etc. can be made as substitutes to other non-vegetarian food items, such as red meat which are high on arachidonic acid, a compound that can aggravate inflammation in people.
- Add Cooking Oil to Food Preparations: Oils, such as olive oil, can supplement in reducing the inflammation inside the body.
- Use Onions and Garlic While Cooking Food: Try using onions (red onion most preferable), garlic, etc as ingredients in your food because they are rich in Sulphur, which is an anti-inflammatory mineral.
Now that you know that these diet tips to manage ankylosing spondylitis, follow them if you happen to suffer from this inflammatory condition any time and obtain relief naturally.
- Written by Dr. Ashitha A., Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah