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What is Spondyloarthritides? Spondyloarthritides is a group of diseases characterized by the involvement of the spine as well as joints. Ankylosing Spondylitis is a prototype of these diseases. Other causes of Spondyloarthritides in adults and children include Psoriasis and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Rigidity of the spine is a common outcome of these diseases. Around 0.25% population in India is estimated to be affected by these diseases. Causes Ankylosing Spondylitis is a condition in which the bones of the spine (vertebrae) fuse together, resulting in a rigid spine. These changes may be mild or severe, and may lead to a stooped-over posture over time. It is an autoimmune disease. Although the exact cause is unknown, it is more frequent in young males under the age of 40 years. Females can also be affected although their symptoms appear to be milder. The disease is more frequent in genetically susceptible individuals who are HLA-B27 positive. Relatives of a given patient have a 20-40-fold greater risk of developing Ankylosing Spondylitis.

When to suspect Ankylosing Spondyloarthritis? Spinal pain and stiffness lasting more than 3 months in a young adult that starts gradually before the age of 40 years of age; shows improvement with activity; but no improvement with rest; where there is pain at night with improvement on getting up, should make one suspect the disease.

Psoriatic Arthritis Psoriasis is a common skin disorder in which cells tend to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin. The extra skin cells form scales and red patches that are itchy and sometimes painful. Some of these patients develop swollen, painful joints that are typical of arthritis. Symptoms range from mild to severe and Psoriatic Arthritis can affect any joint. Sometimes the joint symptoms may be aggressive and can cause permanent deformities.

Patients with Psoriasis and joint pains should visit a Rheumatologist to prevent deformities and permanent damage. What is the need for the Spondyloarthritides clinic? Diagnosis: Early diagnosis is the key to successful management. An Indian study has demonstrated that there is a delay of almost 7 years in diagnosing cases of Ankylosing Spondylitis. This delay would lead to irreversible damage of the spine and other joints.

Treatment: A holistic approach to the disease would lead to the best clinical outcomes for these diseases. For Ankylosing Spondylitis, team work between the physiotherapist and clinician is key. For Psoriatic Arthritis, the coordination between dermatologist and clinician would greatly benefit the patient. With this one-of-a-kind clinic, patients with these diseases can be treated optimally with the coordination of different specialists, in one visit.

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