In severe cases of ankylosing spondylitis, new bone forms as part of the body's attempt to heal. This new bone gradually bridges the gap between vertebrae and eventually fuses sections of vertebrae together. Those parts of your spine become stiff and inflexible. Fusion can also stiffen your rib cage, restricting your lung capacity and function.
Other complications may include:
Feb. 11, 2014
- Eye inflammation (uveitis). One of the most common complications of ankylosing spondylitis, uveitis can cause rapid-onset eye pain, sensitivity to light and blurred vision. See your doctor right away if you develop these symptoms.
- Compression fractures. Some people experience a thinning of their bones during the early stages of ankylosing spondylitis. Weakened vertebrae may crumble, increasing the severity of your stooped posture. Vertebral fractures sometimes can damage the spinal cord and the nerves that pass through the spine.
- Heart problems. Ankylosing spondylitis can cause problems with your aorta, the largest artery in your body. The inflamed aorta can enlarge to the point that it distorts the shape of the aortic valve in the heart, which impairs its function.
- Ankylosing spondylitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Ankylosing_Spondylitis. Accessed Sept. 12, 2013.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 12, 2013.
- Papadakis MA, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2013. 52nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Sept. 12, 2013.
- Yu DT. Clinical manifestations of ankylosing spondylitis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 12, 2013.
- Chang-Miller A (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Ariz. Sept. 15, 2013.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Sept. 12, 2013.
- Yu DT. Assessment and treatment of ankylosing spondylitis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 12, 2013.
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