50 Physiotherapists across Gurgaon attended the workshop
Dr Indrajit Agrawal HOD Rheumatology while addressing the Gurgaon Physiotherapists and patients said “Every year the first Saturday of May is celebrated as World AS Day to promote awareness of this disease which unfortunately affects the spine causing pain and stiffness among young people”.
Although this disease can occur at any age, AS most often strikes men in their teens and twenties. It is less common and generally milder in women. AS affects about 12.5 lacs people in India.
Common symptoms are pain and early morning stiffness in the lower back which gradually affects the whole length of spine. Inflammation in the ligaments and tendons may cause ankle pain and swelling. People with this condition may also have fever, fatigue, weight loss, red painful eyes. “It’s often confused with TB in India” which is rather unfortunate says Dr. Indrajit Agrawal HOD Rheumatology
Cause for Ankylosing Spondylitis is unknown but there is a strong genetic and family link. Most people with AS will Carry a gene called HLA-B27.
Diagnosis is based on pain and stiffness of spine, X-ray or MRI of the back and pelvis and blood tests like HLA- B27.
Daily exercise and physiotherapy are must. Swimming is excellent form of exercise for people with AS. Pain killers and NSAID’s ( ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin ) are commonly prescribed. Some patients require DMARD’s ( Methotrexate and Sulphasalazine ). New treatments like biological therapies are very effective but costly. Good news is that biosimilars ( Intacept, Infimab, Adalirel ) are available and made in India at a much cheaper price.
Patients shared their experiences in the meeting. Most encouraging signs were that all the patients reported great deal of improvement with medical treatment and exercises.