What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while my hands and wrist have become affected from my condition and I can not type a lot anymore As my diseases progresses I have to continue to spread as much awareness as possible about this monster called AS!

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS), also sometimes referred to as Bechterew’s disease or Marie Strümpell disease, is a chronic type of arthritis that causes inflammation, pain and stiffness most often in the spine and the joints located just above the tailbone, called the sacroiliac joints. Inflammation means that your body’s immune system is releasing chemicals into your blood and joints that cause pain and stiffness. Why? Because when you have AS, the normal signals that tell your immune system to spring into action — to protect your body from harm by viruses, bacteria, or injuries — are crossed. That’s called autoimmunity. In an autoimmune form of arthritis like AS, your immune system triggers inflammation and attacks your healthy joints and tissues by mistake. That’s why you have pain and other symptoms.

The inflammation that AS causes in the spine and joints above the tailbone can, in some people, result in the fusing together of some of the bones in the spine. In severe cases, this can affect your posture to such a degree that you become hunched-forward and cannot lift your head high enough to see ahead of you. AS can also affect tendons or ligaments where they attach to the bones. This is known as enthesitis. For example, when it affects the ligaments in the ribcage it can make it difficult to breathe. AS may damage organs such as the lungs and may even affect the eyes. Men tend to get AS more than womenand the disease typically begins in early adulthood.

Symptoms

It is important to note that the course of Ankylosing Spondylitis symptoms can be very different from person to person. Symptoms usually begin in early adulthood (between age 17 and 45), but in some people symptoms can start in childhood or much later in life. The most common symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis are pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips, and this pain is worse after periods of inactivity or when you wake up after sleeping. Areas most commonly affected are:

  • The joints between the base of the spine and the pelvis
  • Bones in the lower back
  • Cartilage (a rubbery type of tissue) between the breastbone and ribs
  • Between the shoulder joints

At first, you may feel pain only on one side of your body, or it may alternate sides. The pain is usually dull and feels like it’s all over your body, rather than localized. In the early stages of Ankylosing Spondylitis, you might also have a mild fever, loss of appetite and general discomfort.

People with Ankylosing Spondylitis often describe an ongoing, dull pain that feels like it’s coming from deep within their lower back or buttocks, along with morning stiffness. It is not unusual for symptoms to worsen, get better or stop completely at regular intervals. One very important symptom is back pain that wakes you up in the middle of the night. It is important to note that inflammatory back pain is different from mechanical back pain and often people with Ankylosing Spondylitis find that exercise can help reduce pain. People with Ankylosing Spondylitis may also have fatigue and lose range of motion and flexibility in their spine because the joints fuse together. Sometimes the disease makes it hard for the chest to expand when you breathe in. The most serious complication is fracture of the spinal bones. In approximately two to 10 percent of people with Ankylosing Spondylitis, Ankylosing Spondylitis causes various types of heart disease.

Causes

While there is no specific cause of Ankylosing Spondylitis, experts believe that your genes may play a role. If you carry the gene called HLA-B27 in your family, you may have a significantly greater risk of developing the Ankylosing Spondylitis. However, you don’t have to have the HLA-B27 gene to develop Ankylosing Spondylitis. In fact, most of the people with this gene never contract the disease. Experts believe that something in your environment, such as an infection caused by bacteria, is needed to trigger AS. One theory suggests that Ankylosing Spondylitis may be caused by bacteria from your intestines getting into your bloodstream in the area of the body where the sacroiliac joints are located.

Prognosis

There is no cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis but early diagnosis and treatment can ease pain and other symptoms. To prevent these painful Ankylosing Spondylitis symptoms from happening or to slow them down, you have to get your inflammation under control. That’s what your treatment plan — including your Ankylosing Spondylitis drugs and other steps like exercise — is designed to do. The goal of treatment is to reduce the pain and other symptoms, help you maintain normal posture and flexibility in your spine, reduce any limitations in your daily functioning and prevent or delay the complications of Ankylosing Spondylitis, including spinal deformity.

Ankylosing Spondylitis treatment is usually most successful if it starts before the disease causes irreversible damage to your joints. There are a number of medications used for Ankylosing Spondylitis. Surgery is usually only used for people with Ankylosing Spondylitis who have severe joint damage.

Diagnosis

Because Ankylosing Spondylitis can involve so many different systems and parts of the body, it can be difficult for your doctor to monitor your disease. Different doctors use different methods to measure your disease activity and check your progress, including your medical history, blood tests and various types of imaging such as x-rays or MRI. When you have Ankylosing Spondylitis, your disease activity includes three key things: persistence of your symptoms, how likely you are to develop severe Ankylosing Spondylitis disease and damage or deformity of your bones, and your response to treatment.

Doctors may use the BASFI and BASDAI – two surveys that ask you about your symptoms such as overall fatigue, pain, joint swelling and stiffness, and how Ankylosing Spondylitis is affecting you and your daily activities. These surveys can help your doctor to determine whether you need a different or perhaps a more powerful drug.

There are signs of inflammation in your blood that your doctor can test. These test results can show how active your disease is and how well your treatments are working. These are often called inflammatory markers. You should know that not everyone’s markers correlate with their disease activity. You may be having pain and swelling while these markers look normal or vice versa:

  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) or “sed rate”
  • C-reactive protein or CRP

X-rays of the spine or sacroiliac joints can show how your Ankylosing Spondylitis is progressing and whether you have any joint damage. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the spine is gaining wider acceptance among doctors as an important tool to show your level of ongoing inflammation. Your doctor will determine which drug or drugs to prescribe based on the results of these tests, along with other factors including:

  • Joint or organ damage
  • Other diseases you have, such as liver or lung disease
  • Possible reasons that the drug could do you harm and mean you should avoid it
  • Your personal preferences, such as drugs that are taken as pills or injections
  • Potential medication side effects

Side effects are changes that can occur in our bodies as the result of using a particular medication or device. Side effects can be mild or severe and can vary greatly from person to person.

Contraindications are situations when you should avoid taking a certain medication for health reasons. For example, you should not take DMARD therapy (a medication that is sometimes used to treat Ankylosing Spondylitis when non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) are not enough to control the pain, stiffness and inflammation) if:

  • you are pregnant;
  • have alcoholism;
  • have alcoholic liver disease or other severe chronic liver disease;
  • have immunodeficiency syndromes such as HIV/AIDS (some patients with HIV can take DMARDS and biologics under careful monitoring), in which your immune system is not working properly (overt or laboratory evidence);
  • or have pre-existing blood dyscrasias (for example, bone marrow hypoplasia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, or significant anemia).

If you have active hepatitis A, B, or C, you will need to be treated for that by a liver specialist before you take any drugs for your Ankylosing Spondylitis that suppress your immune system or affect your liver. Your liver specialist and rheumatologist can both decide, if once your hepatitis is either stabilized or being treated, that you can start to take certain medications for your Ankylosing Spondylitis. But you’ll need to be monitored closely. You may need to come in for blood tests often.

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Friendships while living with chronic illness!

Since I’ve been diagnosed I’ve lost a lot of friends honestly i was sad at first but i learned that people come and go some stay for a life time and others stay for a season I’ve accepted that and I’m OK with losing people that were not for me. Although i lost some friends I’ve gained some amazing strong, beautiful, successful, friends that only have my best interest at heart and are here for me at my lowest points of my illness and my strongest moments and vice versa because when you call someone a friend that’s what friends do for one another they don’t kick you while your down they uplift you and help you get back up they want a see you win not lose they don’t hate they congratulate! We often wonder why certain things happen to us in life good or bad why did i get sick? for example i asked god everyday to show me a sign that this is where i’m suppose to be in my life and that my life is not completely over that even though i couldn’t work or do some of the things that i use to do that i still had a purpose here it took a while for him to show me it took a while for me to get up and fight, fight for my life back, fight for a purpose again, fight for the things that i use to love to do, i felt worthless, i felt useless and i felt defeated but through all of my battle i found my purpose again i found that i do work, i work on myself everyday being a better stronger version of me, i work on building a better future for my family, i work on being a more understanding and compassionate person, i work on loving myself, i work on helping others battle their illnesses because everyone copes and handles things differently in life what i can manage someone else might not be able to so i use that to help others find ways that work for them to cope with whatever their battling I’m not god i cant fix and help everyone now! But i use what i know what I’ve learned to try to help as many people as i can this is my purpose now this is my “work” now! We are all strong in our own way but always check on your “strong” friend you never know what they are facing.

My Fight With Ankylosing Spondylitis!

Everyday I wake up and i forget that I’m sick I forget that I’m living with this debilitating disease that is taking my freedom away from me I forget because I. Don’t want to remember the pain I will go through all day I forget because I don’t want to remember that I’ve lost some of my mobility already, I. D.o.n.t want to remember that I’ve had double jaw surgery and I have to undergo another surgery this week to correct my deviated septum AS caused a lot of joint damage and damaged my facial functions medication can not correct these issues unfortunately only surgery can 😔 AS has changed many things in my life I can no longer work because I can not sit, stand or walk for long periods of time without feeling excruciating pain, I can not play with my kids for long, I can not go out and hang out with friends for a long time the way I use to when I walk I have to take breaks or my body will shut down my mind wants to keep going but my body just can not keep up, people really don’t understand how serious this disease is and if you have a friend or family member suffering with this disease please check on them no matter how strong they may seem they are very weak and struggling to get through the day. I’am a very strong woman but even I can’t deal with this condition I try my best everyday to be happy, to stay positive, and be stronger than I was yesterday it is not easy it’s a battle that I know I can’t win but I keep fighting everyday 💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽💙💙💙

Relationships and sex while living with chronic pain!

Support from partners keeps many people going. However, chronic pain can place huge pressures on both the emotional and physical sides of a relationship.

Pain can sometimes take over to the point where a person can’t think about anything else. Some people, often those whose partners were at work all day, told us that when they did spend time together they found themselves moaning about their pain.

Others had made a conscious decision to try not to burden their partners and instead kept the pain to themselves or shared problems with a healthcare professional or another person with pain.

People with chronic pain often find that the pain makes them bad tempered and intolerant with their partners. Some had realized that it was better to admit that they were being grumpy than to argue or try to blame something else. Sometimes people were less able to cope with the normal relationship stresses, or found that arguments made their pain worse.

Often people had experienced changes in what they did in life, which could cause tension in their relationship. Several men could no longer work and told us that they found it frustrating when their partners had to get a job, especially if they didn’t enjoy becoming a househusband.

Other people, often women, were worried that their partner had to do housework on top of their jobs. Some said they missed their independence and disliked having to rely on their partner for things like transport. Occasionally partners gave up their jobs to become carers which placed additional financial pressures on their relationship.

Couples often meet because of shared interests, such as sports, which often became difficult. One woman couldn’t go out on a motorbike with her husband and felt that they had lost a big part of their life together.

Sometimes the pain and the stresses it brought with it had contributed to the break-up of a relationship, while others felt that pain had pushed their relationships almost to breaking point. It is easy to become preoccupied with coping with pain and shut the other person out, which could lead to them feeling rejected.

Others got so down about their pain that they started to doubt whether their partner wanted to be with them. While some couples were able to resolve these issues by talking, others found they needed relationship counselling from organizations like Relate.

A few people we talked to had formed new relationships since their pain started. Sometimes it was difficult to find someone who would accept the limits the pain placed on what they could do and they felt bad when they had to cancel plans because of the pain.

Good communication, flexibility and understanding are particularly important in relationships where one person has chronic pain. One woman recommended that both people have someone they can talk to outside of the relationship.

Sexual relationships had often suffered – men and women alike said that sex was simply the ‘last thing on my mind’ when they were in pain. Pain could affect libido (sex drive), although some thought that the medication contributed to this.

For many, intimacy and even physical touch was painful. One woman who’d had several back operations was scared that she might injure herself, but when she made love with her husband she had been fine.

Women with pelvic pain, fibromyalgia and back pain said they found full intercourse and orgasm particularly painful. One woman recalled several times when she had passed out, which had been very distressing. One man who was unable to have sex because of an accident which left him with back and neck pain. He was prescribed Viagra but didn’t like the idea of taking it a couple of hours before sex, which he found ‘a bit like making an appointment at the dentist’.

Men and women who couldn’t face having sex worried that this wasn’t fair on their partners. Those people who were in longer-term, mature relationships thought this was less of a problem and in some cases they had agreed to not have sex. A woman whose pain started early in a relationship said that her sex life was the first thing to be affected and made a dramatic change to their lives.

Physical intimacy remained an important part of relationships, even if it was cuddling and holding hands rather than ‘full sex’. Those who continued their sex lives said they were not as adventurous as before, but it was still fulfilling.

Most had become less spontaneous about sex and now tended to plan and prepare – they advised waiting for a “good day”, choosing the best time of day and setting aside time. It was important to have good communication and work out the most comfortable positions and times. One woman commented that sex could be one of the best painkillers.


The Pentagon spends a lot of money on Viagra

The government will spend millions of dollars on a limp dick but won’t spend millions of dollars finding better medications or even better a cure for people living with chronic illnesses that causes limited mobility, constant chronic pain, severe fatigue, depression, anxiety etc… To add to this, insurance companies actually cover the cost of viagra for erection dysfunction yet they won’t cover the cost of medical marijuana that actually helps people cope with their chronic illness conditions why??? When are we going to make a change??!!!

Thinking about war all day long must put a damper on a man’s sex life, or at least that’s what a recently-published report would suggest.

According to the Military Times, data from the Defense Health Agency indicate the U.S. Department of Defense spent $41.6 million on Viagra and $84.24 million total on drugs for erectile dysfunction in 2014.

Since 2011, the bill for covering drugs like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra for active and retired military personnel and eligible family members totalled $294 million — nearly as much as four U.S. Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, says the Military Times.

The DoD first began covering the cost of Viagra prescriptions in 2012, and currently another seven types of erectile dysfunction medications are paid for under the federal agency’s health plan. Of the 1.18 million prescriptions filled in 2014, 905,083 were for Viagra, at a cost of $41.6 million. Cialis was the second most commonly prescribed ED drug, with 185,841 prescriptions totaling $22.82 million. Revatio, the priciest ED drug, was prescribed the least with 1,699 prescriptions in 2014 for a total cost of $2.24 million.

The numbers reported by the Military Times far surpassed those in an earlier report by the Washington Free Beacon, which found that in 2014, the Pentagon spent more than $500,000 on Viagra. That analysis was based on a review of 60 contracts with Cardinal Health Inc. for Viagra, and did not account for mail order prescriptions filled by the pharmacy benefits manager, Express Scripts.

The Military Times says that while some studies have found ED has become a growing health problem for service members in the last few years, it turns out that less than 10 percent of these documented prescriptions were actually for the troops. The rest went to retirees or family members covered by military health plans.

Among active-duty servicemen who had ED over the past decade, more than half were diagnosed with “psychogenic ED,” which means the condition was related to psychological, not physical, health problems.

ED is a medical condition in which a man is unable to get or maintain an erection for sex, and is often a result of psychological problems including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. Medical conditions such as acute injuries and diabetes can also cause ED.

Health Benefits of Pottery!

Pottery has been around for thousands of years and is a therapeutic art form that provides health benefits not only for the mind, but the body as well. 

Reduces Stress

All forms of art have physical and mental health benefits, and are helpful when it comes to reducing stress and other worries, just like playing real money pokies can be.  Creating something unique offers satisfaction and making something from clay means bringing out our creative side.  By exploring our creativity we can better connect with ourselves and the environment.  Pottery is great for all ages and there is not right or wrong way of creating something from clay.

A Mood Enhancer

Creating something is a way for many people to forget their sadness and grief, which ultimately results in improving your mood.  We can forget about our stressesand problems even if just for a short time.  We can also improve other features of our mental health such as confidence, self-expression and spontaneity.

Helps with Focusing

Instead of worrying about things in your life rather change your focus to creating something.  While you are concentrating on making something you do not allow influences from outside to affect you, and you can focus solely on your art.  By focusing on one thing you allow your mind to relax and in turn this will help you focus better in other spheres of your life.  Stress can lead to feelings of pain, and because pottery is a hobby that is known for relieving feelings of stress and helps with boosting confidence, doing pottery as a hobby can reduce this pain.

Physical Benefits

Not only are there mental benefits, but also physical benefits.  Even though pottery is not a strenuous activity it is strengthening to the hands, wrists and arms and offers health benefits for those who suffer with arthritis in their hands.

Sense of Accomplishment

Most archaeological digs all over the world have yielded wonderful works of art throughout the ages.  Many of these artefacts are made from pottery and withstood the elements, and have survived.  Any creation you make will no doubt withstand the test of time and may even later be discovered by new civilisations as they have been in the past.  You never know, your work of art may be displayed in a museum or galley years from now.  You would feel some sense of accomplishment.

A Form of Self Expression

Any type of art is a form of expressing oneself and pottery is no different.  Pottery allows you to create things from a lump of clay and as you progress and learn more you will try out new techniques and stretch your imagination as you become more creative with your work.  Not only is there creativity in the moulding of the clay, but also once the item has been fired.  You can then use more of your creativity to create something beautiful and unique that can even be useful to you or to a loved one.

Pineapple: Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition Facts!

Pineapples are tropical fruit that are rich in vitamins, enzymes and antioxidents. They may help boost the immune system, build strong bones and aid indigestion. Also, despite their sweetness, pineapples are low in calories.

Pineapples are members of the bromeliad family, and one of the few bromeliads to produce edible fruit, according to the biology department at Union County College. The fruit is actually made of many individual berries that fuse together around a central core. Each pineapple scale is an individual berry.

Pineapples’ nutritional benefits are as fascinating as their anatomy. “Pineapples contain high amounts of vitamin C and manganese,” said San Diego-based nutritionist Laura Flores. These tropical treats are also a good way to get important dietary fiber and bromelain (an enzyme)

“As well as having high amounts of manganese, which is important for antioxidant defenses, pineapples also contain high amounts of thiamin, a B vitamin that is involved in energy production,” Flores said.

For all its sweetness, one cup of pineapple chunks contains only 82 calories. Pineapples are also fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in sodium. Not surprisingly, they do contain sugar, with 16 grams per cup.

Anti-Inflammatory benefits

Due to a complex mixture of substances that can be extracted from the core of the pineapple, well known as bromelain, pineapples can help reduce severe inflammation … and can reduce tumor growth,” Flores said. A variety of studies have indicated that bromelain may be helpful in treating osteoarthritis, though more research is needed. 

Excessive inflammation is often associated with cancer, and according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, bromelain and other proteolytic enzymes have been shown to increase the survival rates of animals with various tumors. There is not yet, however, clinical evidence to show that such results will happen in humans.