allergy testing

Polyautoimmunity anyone?

We all know or read or heard of someone and the pains they experience with AS as well as all the other diseases they might have. One woman on AS answers website stated she had been diagnosed with AS, Crohn’s, Sjögren, Uveitis as well as Fibromyalgia. Just reading her story made me cry. There are countless stories on The Faces of Ankylosing Spondylitis that do the same thing to me. How do people live with all of these different diseases? So I wanted to know what types of diseases others have besides AS and was amazed at the ones I found.

  • Amyloidosis- is a group of diseases that result from the abnormal deposition in various tissues of the body of a particular protein called amyloid. Depending on the structure of the particular amyloid, the protein can accumulate in an isolated tissue or be widespread, affecting numerous organs and tissues. Amyloid protein can be deposited in a localized area and may not be harmful or only affect a single tissue of the body impairing its function. This form of amyloidosis is called localized amyloidosis. Amyloidosis that affects many tissues throughout the body is referred to as systemic amyloidosis. Systemic amyloidosis can cause serious changes in virtually any organ of the body.
  • Ankle pain- is commonly due to a sprain or tendonitis.
  • Aortic Incompetence- people with AS may also be at increased risk for heart problems
  • Bone spurs- are pointy outgrowths of bone that develop in areas of inflammation or injury.
  • Chronic Fatigue- refers to severe, continued tiredness that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other medical conditions.
  • Crohn’s Disease- is a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines. It primarily causes ulcerations (breaks in the lining) of the small and large intestines.
  • Costochondritis- is a common form of inflammation of the cartilage where ribs attach to the breastbone, the sternum. The inflammation can involve multiple cartilage areas on both sides of the sternum but usually is on one side only.
  • Fibromyalgia- is long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues.
  • Heel Spurs- is a pointed bony outgrowth of the bone of the heel (the calcaneus bone).
  • Iritis- is an inflammatory condition of the colored portion (the iris which surrounds the pupil) of the eye. It causes varying degrees of redness of the eye, often with significant pain, sensitivity to light, tearing, and blurred vision.
  • Kyphosis- abnormal curvature of the spine.
  • Neck pain- may be caused by any number of disorders and diseases.
  • Psoriatic arthritis- is a disease that causes skin and joint inflammation.
  • Reactive Arthritis- involves inflammation of joints, eyes, and the genital, urinary, or gastrointestinal systems.
  • Sacroiliac joint (SI) dysfunction- is a general term to reflect pain in the SI joints.
  • Scleritis- is an inflammation of the sclera, the white portion of the eye.
  • Sjögren syndrome- is a systemic autoimmune disease in which immune cells attack and destroy the exocrine glands that produce tears and saliva.
  • Synovitis- is the inflammation of a synovial (joint-lining) membrane, usually painful, particularly on motion, and characterized by swelling, due to effusion.
  • Tietze’s Syndrome- similar to Costochondritis, Tietze’s syndrome is inflammation of the cartilage where ribs attach to the breastbone, but differentiated by the presence of swelling.
  • Ulcerative colitis- is a chronic inflammation of the large intestines.
  • Uveitis- is inflammation of the eye. Symptoms include blurred vision, eye pain, eye redness, photo-phobia, and floaters.

I am sure there are a whole lot more that ASers suffer with that are not on this list, but if you have just one of these along with your AS that is enough.

There are differing opinions about how one contracts two diseases at once. One is an infection triggers the AS while another is that it is strictly environmental. When I look at my case and that of my sons, some of the above statements ring true. I had no pain/discomfort from my AS after getting a new bed, but then I got an infection. My son shows only mild discomfort due to morning stiffness. There are a lot of people with AS who have been suffering for years not only from AS but concomitant diseases as well.

Concomitant disease

In about 85% of individuals, AS develops without other diseases.1  However, in the remainder, AS may be triggered by, or occur concomitantly with, other disorders.

I was diagnosed with AS back in 92. I had no real symptoms after 3-4 years and did not require anti-inflammatory or other drugs. I had no noticeable back pain or stiffness. I was NORMAL! In 2006 I took antibiotics, got C-diff and then got ulcerative colitis. My back started hurting and my sacrum was constantly on fire. So based on the above information I was fine with AS until I got C-diff which triggered my UC which made my AS active. OK I feel better knowing this little bit of information.

I read fellow ASers stories and I think about what they must be going through having one or more concomitant disorders. I cannot imagine having fibro, UC, iritis etc, along with the sacrum, hip, back pain. Then there are the stories about those who have had countless surgeries to replace knees, hips, fusing vertebrae etc.

What IS this disease doing to us? It’s like a sci-fi movie where the aliens come to Earth and inject us with microbes and some live and some die. Those that live have these awful mutations BUT some are worse off than others… Forgive my ramblings….

The rest of the information I found relates to autoimmune diseases (AD) but if you recall on a previous post I stated that AS is in fact an autoinflammatory disease (AI), according to researchers.  There is a specific name for those of us who have been diagnosed with multiple AD or AIs, it is called Polyautoimmunity. Polyautoimmunity is defined as the presence of more than one autoimmune disorder (ADs) in a single patient. Multiple autoimmune syndromes (MAS) is the co-occurrence of three or more well-defined ADs in a single patient. Environmental triggers and genetic susceptibility have been suggested to be involved in MAS pathogenesis. About 25% of patients with ADs have a tendency to develop additional ADs.

2 replies »

    • thank you Stina, its because of these types of comments I keep going! It takes me a month or so, but I have to get the information right and make sure its understandable to the layman. Again thank you, it means the word to me…

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