GP role crucial in diagnosing ankylosing spondylitis

Video: The dangers of delayed diagnosis and how the right treatment plan could makes a real difference in this chronic illness

GPs play a crucial role in the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis to prevent irreversible damage to the spine as well as ongoing chronic pain in patients.

The longer inflammation goes undiagnosed, the more chronic damage it causes, leading to inflammation of the ligaments and tendons.

Ongoing inflammation within the spine and in other musculoskeletal soft tissues and joints increases bone formation – joints become progressively stiffer and may ultimately fuse causing irreversible damage.

Despite the long-term risks, diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis is typically delayed because it is a relatively rare condition and affects about one in 500 Australians.

In the first video, Sydney rheumatologist Dr Irwin Lim shares his insights into the tests required for diagnosis, ongoing management of ankylosing spondylitis – including the importance of exercise programs and medication monitoring – and when to refer to a rheumatologist.  

In the next video, Dr Lim explores why ankylosing spondylitis is much more than a spinal disease.