Last week I wrote a post about Ankylosing Spondylitis and one of the pieces of information I shared was about the bowels and the eyes being affected by this autoimmune disorder. The information I had gathered didn’t explain anything more about it and it made me want to know more about how Ankylosing Spondylitis with its inflammatory arthritis affect the digestive tract and the eyes.
How does Ankelyosing Spondylitis affect digestion?
People with ankylosing spondylitis can develop bowel problems known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or colitis.
Dr. Joel Taurog, MD says, “Somewhere around 5 to 10 percent of individuals with AS also have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.”
Why do some people with ankylosing spondylitis develop inflammatory bowel disease? “The association is largely genetic,” said Dr. Taurog. “Over half of the 30-plus genes that have been identified as susceptibility genes for AS are also susceptibility genes for IBD.”
How does Ankelyosing Spondylitis the eyes?
“About 30 to 40 percent of people with ankylosing spondylitis get uveitis at some time,” says Dr. Proctor.
Researchers have found certain genes common in both ankylosing spondylitis and uveitis. Even though other diseases can also cause uveitis and iritis, about 50 percent of all Caucasians with this type of eye inflammation have the HLA-B27 gene.
Symptoms for uveitis or iritis:
- Eye pain
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye redness
- Blurred vision
- Seeing spots in your vision
Common treatments include:
- Steroid eye drops to fight inflammation
- Eye drops, called cycloplegic drops, to keep the pupil open and decrease pain
- Steroids taken by mouth, for more severe cases
- Dark glasses to protect your eyes