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7 Surprising Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Everyday Health covers surprising symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and features expert commentary from HSS rheumatologist Susan M. Goodman, MD.

One symptom is shortness of breath and dizziness. Dr. Goodman said, “Some people with AS develop heart problems due to high levels of inflammation throughout their body.” After years of disease, some people may develop a heart condition of chronic inflammation around the aortic valve, called aortitis.

According to Dr. Goodman, although AS symptoms most commonly affect the spine and surrounding area, any joint can be affected — including the hips, ankles, elbows, knees, shoulders, or even jaw. “The stiffness, inflammation, and pain can spread up the spine and into the neck and other places.” She added that these symptoms are treated in a similar fashion to AS-related back pain.

Another symptom is heel pain. Dr. Goodman explained, “With AS there can be pain and tenderness in areas of the body where joints meet bone. And treating the underlying AS can also benefit heel pain.”

Finally, fatigue is also a symptom that can be overwhelming for some people. Dr. Goodman noted, “It’s a very nonspecific symptom, but it can signal that something inflammatory is going on in the body.” Further she added, “Pain can make you tired, and people with AS may have trouble sleeping comfortably, which can add to fatigue.”

Read the full article at EverydayHealth.com.