Ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic form of inflammatory arthritis that primarily targets the spine, can be hard to diagnose, leaving many patients looking for answers to their symptoms. Rheumatologist Dr. Joseph Martinez recently helped clarify some common AS misconceptions on HealthCentral.
One myth is that only white people are diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis.
“Population studies do show that the highest prevalence of AS occurs in Caucasians and that the lowest rate is in African-Americans,” notes Dr. Martinez, “but anyone, of any race or ethnicity, can develop AS.”
Another misconception is if you have AS, you can’t take NSAIDS, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. In fact, you can take these over-the-counter medications if you work closely with your doctor.
“There are risks you need to be aware of, but if you’re otherwise healthy you can take NSAIDs long-term under the supervision of your doctor,” notes Dr. Martinez. “We look at it on a case-by-case basis. People who shouldn’t do this include those with cardiac and kidney issues, as well as IBD, which is aggravated by NSAIDs. Antacids can also be used to help protect the stomach lining and minimize GI problems—the most common side effect—in some people.”
To get the facts about ankylosing spondylitis, read the entire article here.