Bechterew's disease in women is relatively rare. However, such cases are recorded. And today, many patients with a similar diagnosis are interested in additional information about the disease. What are its causes? What symptoms should alert? Are there effective treatments? Answers to these questions will be useful to many readers.
What is ankylosing spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory lesion of the intervertebral joints, which is accompanied by the pathological transfer of calcium in the tissues of the ligaments and discs and, accordingly, ossification of the spine. In addition, the lesion can move to peripheral joints and even internal organs, causing various kinds of complications.
It is worth noting that Bechterew's disease in women is diagnosed about 5 times less than in men. Moreover, in women, the disease has some features of the clinical picture, which complicate the process of diagnosis. In any case, it is worth knowing about the main manifestations of the disease, as the sooner the diagnosis occurs and therapy begins, the higher the probability of avoiding various kinds of complications.
The mechanism of development and the main causes of the disease
Unfortunately, today it is not completely known how and why Bechterew's disease develops in women, and in men too. Nevertheless, there is an assumption that the disease is genetic in nature and is inherited. The fact is that in 96% of the examined patients with this disease hereditary damage to a specific HLA system gene was found.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a pathology that is accompanied by a breakdown of the immune system, as a result of which it produces antibodies that attack the body’s own cells. It is in this way that the development of the inflammatory process occurs.
Unfortunately, today the factors that activate the disease are not fully understood. There is evidence that the disease begins to develop against the background of infections of internal organs, including the digestive system. Risk factors also include inflammatory diseases of the genitourinary system, severe hypothermia, endocrine disruption, as well as fractures of the pelvic bones and some other injuries.
The main forms of the development of the disease
There are several schemes that can develop ankylosing spondylitis. Feedback from specialists, collected data and scientific research allowed identifying several main types of this disease:
- The central form of the disease is accompanied by a lesion of the spinal column only.
- For the rhizomelic type, lesions are characteristic not only of the spine, but also of the shoulders and hip joints.
- The peripheral form of the disease is accompanied by damage to the spine and large peripheral joints.
- There is also the so-called Scandinavian form, which is characterized by damage to the spine, small joints of the arms and legs.
Ankylosing spondylitis: symptoms of the disease
Of course, the signs of a disease are extremely important. So what does Bechterew's disease look like? Her symptoms are a bit blurred, especially when it comes to the initial stages. Moreover, in women, the disease can be hidden for quite a long time.
The first signs are pains in the lower back, which are localized, as a rule, in the area of the sacrum and can be given to the buttocks. Soreness most often occurs in the form of an attack after physical exertion (sometimes at night). As the pain develops, they become pronounced and appear even at rest.
In the later stages, women complain of stiffness in the movements in the morning - by the evening this feeling usually passes. Sometimes there are quite characteristic pain in the Achilles tendon and heels. Depending on the form of the disease, inflammation of the other joints develops over time.
What are the possible complications?
In the absence of proper treatment, and sometimes even with continuous therapy, Bechterew's disease in women leads to serious complications. In particular, sometimes there is a serious violation of posture, which makes normal movement almost impossible. In addition, on the background of the disease, internal organs are sometimes affected, in particular, the aorta and the cardiovascular system - patients also suffer from constant shortness of breath, chest pain and heart rhythm disturbances. Complications also include amyloidosis and renal failure.
What are the diagnostic methods?
In this case, it is extremely important to early diagnosis, which, however, may be difficult due to the blurred clinical picture in sick women. As a rule, the first suspicions of the presence of the disease appear even during the examination, since the patients have a change in gait, a distorted posture, they complain of pain in the back and joints.
In the future, x-ray examinations are assigned, the results of which show the foci of sclerosis, as well as the unevenness and vagueness of the articular surfaces. You can also notice violations of pulmonary ventilation, which is associated with loss of mobility of the chest. In some cases, additional tests are needed, including blood tests, urine tests, etc.
Modern methods of therapy
How to treat ankylosing spondylitis? These questions are asked by women who have already had time to face this ailment. Unfortunately, today there is no medicine that can completely cure the disease. Therapy in this case is a permanent process. It is aimed at slowing down the disease and preserving the mobility of the skeleton.
As a rule, doctors prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including Ketoprofen, Diclofenac, Voltaren, Indomethacin, etc. further damage to the skeleton. Preparations are taken by courses. Only in some cases, the use of steroid drugs.
Sometimes the treatment regimen includes taking cytostatics, immunosuppressants, muscle relaxants (with strong muscle spasm), etc., depending on the form of treatment.
Extremely important is the right diet. Protein products should prevail in the diet, but flour and confectionery will have to be abandoned. The main treatment is constant feasible physical activity. Depending on the capabilities and condition of the patient, doctors select suitable exercises - classes in therapeutic gymnastics should be conducted regularly, until the end of life. Swimming will have a positive effect on the state of the body. Physical activity helps to maintain joint mobility, strengthen muscles and relieve the spine.
Also, other methods can be included in the treatment regimen using paraffin therapy, balneotherapy, massage, hirudotherapy (leech therapy), ultrasound therapy, phonophoresis, spa treatment, etc. With all these tools, you can make significant progress and improve the quality of life. .
Ankylosing spondylitis: prognosis for women
Immediately it should be said that it is almost impossible to cure the disease completely. However, early diagnosis and properly chosen treatment help to slow down the development of the disease, maintaining the relatively normal mobility of the skeleton for many years and even decades. Medication, proper diet, regular exercises with special exercises - all this will help to slow down ankylosing spondylitis. Disability, however, is almost inevitable. In the most severe cases, patients even require the installation of joint implants.