18:50 PM

12 Myths About Axial Spondyloarthritis That Are Dangerous to Believe

CreakyJoints addresses common myths about axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), an umbrella term for types of inflammatory arthritis that primarily affect the spine and sacroiliac joint, and discusses the facts with experts including HSS rheumatologist Dalit Ashany, MD.

Dr. Ashany dispelled the myth that there is one test for diagnosing axSpA. On average, it can take seven years for someone to be diagnosed with axSpA, given the symptoms such as lower back pain. “For physicians not familiar with [axial spondyloarthritis] or not actively thinking about it, they may not pursue the proper tests,” said Dr. Ashany.

Another myth is a specific diet must be followed. Dr. Ashany cited, “There are no well-done studies to show that any particular diet makes a difference in symptoms. However, if a patient tells me that if they eat a particular food they feel much worse, then I tell them to avoid that particular food.”

A common misconception is that non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA) always develops into ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Dr. Ashany explained that certain characteristics may help predict worse outcomes, and risk factors for progression to AS include: the male sex, elevated inflammatory markers, presence of the HLA-B27 gene and degree of inflammation seen on MRI of the SI joints. Still, even with these risk factors, not all patients progress, she added.

Finally, even though axSpA can cause permanent damage and structural changes to the spine, this can be avoided. “Patients have variable courses,” noted Dr. Ashany. “Some are never destined to develop progression or significant symptoms, and have quite a mild disease.”

Read the full article at CreakyJoints.org.