The prevalence of Ankylosing Spondylitis in India is currently around 1.65 million; estimated to grow at an annual growth rate of 2.95%, reaching 2 million in 2028
Delayed diagnosis can lead to irreversible damage which may result in severe disability
Treatment options such as Biologics have dramatically transformed the lives of millions of AS patients worldwide
Bengaluru, October 29 2021: Affecting about 1.65 million in India alone, Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a painful chronic inflammatory disease primarily affecting the spine and sacroiliac joint. AS is a type of arthritis that primarily affects the spine but can also affect other joints. With advanced treatment options like biologics, it can help in slowing down the structural damage progression caused by AS and aim at preventing bone fusion, which could be disabling.
Delayed diagnosis, leading to deferred treatment, has also emerged as a significant challenge. Patients usually tend to consult an orthopaedic or a physiotherapist before they reach a specialist (rheumatologist), which in most cases results in a delay by an average of 7 to 10 years. This can cause irreversible structural damage to the spine which can adversely affect a patient’s mobility and quality of life.
Dr. B. G. Dharmanand, Consultant Rheumatologist, Vikram Hospitals, Bangalore said, “Sometimes patients and even general doctors find it difficult to distinguish the most common initial symptom of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) which is back pain from other common causes for back pain. This usually leads to a delay in diagnosis. Lot of youngsters suffer from AS and it is an important cause of disability in this population. So, it is very important that treatment for this condition is taken seriously. Around 10 patients are diagnosed with AS each week in a rheumatology clinic, with a male to female ratio of about three to one.”
In the past, traditional therapy such as physiotherapy or anti-inflammatory drugs were the only available treatment options. While they helped in reducing pain, it did not help in improving the quality of life. However, advance treatment options such as biologics have shown a sustained improvement and slowed down the radiological progression, allowing AS patients an opportunity to have a better quality of life. Biologics not only help reduce the inflammatory pain but also reduces the risk of other health conditions related to AS such as eye inflammation, cardiovascular diseases and even depression.
“When it comes to treatment, biologics are currently very effective in resolving symptoms and delaying progression. As doctors, we try and generate more awareness around this disease. Early diagnosis leads to correct and prompt treatment which will lead to better outcomes.”, added Dr. Dharmanand
When it comes to treatment, biologics are currently very effective in resolving symptoms and delaying progression. As doctors, we try and generate more awareness around this disease. Early diagnosis leads to correct and prompt treatment which will lead to better outcomes.”.