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How is Ankylosing Spondylitis Diagnosed?

Ankylosing spondylitis diagnosis involves physical evaluation, imaging tests, and blood tests. Timely diagnosis is crucial for effective management, and health insurance can help alleviate the financial burden of treatment.

  • 12 Feb 2024
  • 2 min read

Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis disease primarily affecting the spine and large joints. It affects about 01% to 1% of people worldwide, as per estimation. While the ailment is not curable, it is treatable with a timely ankylosing spondylitis diagnosis and proper treatment procedures under the vigilance and guidance of expert medical professionals.

Depending upon the patient's condition and other medical factors, the symptoms of the illness and its intensity can fluctuate throughout the duration of it. The key to faster recovery, or rather efficient management, is to get diagnosed ASAP.

Moving further, we will explore ways to diagnose this spinal and joint disease while looking into health insurance as a backup to protect you against financial stress during these stressful health concerns.

Diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis

  • The diagnostic procedure for Ankylosing spondylitis includes physical evaluation, imaging tests, lab tests, medications and supportive treatments. 
  • The medical professional evaluates patients and prescribes tests and medications accordingly.
  • Physical evaluation includes checking and observing different spine movements through bending in diverse directions. Doctors usually guide and help patients with motions if a patient is in pain. They might also press on specific points on the pelvis to reproduce pain or move the legs into particular positions.
  • A medical expert might also ask to take a deep breath to check for any difficulties in breathing or expanding the chest.
  • Doctors recommend X-rays and MRI testing for ankylosing spondylitis diagnosis. Imaging tests like X-rays help check transformations in joints and bones. It is called radiographic axial spondyloarthritis. The visible signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis might not be visible in the initial stage of the disease.
  • Medical practitioners use Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as well to get more precise and detailed images of affected bones and spine. This method of ankylosing spondylitis diagnosis applies radio waves and a strong magnetic field to obtain evidence of non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis in the early stages of the disease. The treatment costs can be steep, thus a health insurance plan is often a great alternative to deal with the financial burden of the treatment.
  • Doctors might run some blood tests to check markers of inflammation. However, inflammation can be an indicator of many other ailments too. Therefore, we don't yet have specific lab tests for ankylosing spondylitis diagnosis yet. Testing genes like HLA-B27 can provide some information, but again, people might develop the disease even without the HLA-B27 gene.
  • Timely diagnosis is crucial to the treatment and management of ankylosing spondylitis and its symptoms, because it becomes almost irreversible if the complications deepen and aggravate. Treatment for ankylosing spondylitis aims to relieve pain, alleviate bone stiffness, and prevent further complications.

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A variety of methods and their combinations can be used to diagnose the condition while it is still in its relatively early stages. Medical practitioners use these methods to diagnose in time to enable the commencement of treatment early and control the disease before it spreads and becomes almost irreversible. Treatment might include physical therapy, medications, supportive care, and surgery; it depends on the patient's condition. And it may last for a long period of time as well, so ensure that you are properly equipped to deal with the condition and have health insurance to help you take care of it.

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