Ankylosing Spondylitis: Suseptibility to Other Conditions Due to Medication Side Effects

An autoimmune disease & chronic inflammatory condition such as Ankylosing Spondylitis has its fair share of symptoms, so it’s incredibly discouraging to discover that AS sufferers are also susceptible to a multitude of other conditions. When you add incredibly strong medications to this equation, the potential for developing other chronic conditions increases considerably.  These are some of the other chronic conditions that Ankylosing Spondylitis patients who are taking Remicade, Humira, Enbrel, Fenofibrate, Polaramine, Oxycontin, Novorapid, Percocet, Levemir and Naprosyn most often developed while on the above meds:

Acute Pancreatitis (Inflammation of Pancreas)
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (NIDDM/Adult Onset Diabetes)
Diabetes mellitus (DM Covers many forms of Diabetes)
Peripheral vascular disorder (PVD)
Gastrooesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Autoimmune thyroiditis (Inflammation of the Thyroid)
Gastritis prophylaxis (Disease of the Stomach/Inflammation of Mucus Membrane)

When you open the informational packet which is usually enclosed with your meds, you read of the many potential side effects and most often discount the risks for experiencing them (or) side effects such as these aren’t included because many who develop these additional conditions feel that they are unique and independent of their meds, disease or condition, so connections aren’t made and often not reported.  These connections are also not made frequently by doctors. However, many AS patients who are on these medications have these conditions. This should be enough to point your doctor in the right direction, if you are experiencing related symptoms.

There really is no win/win when it comes to medications there are either numerous side effects or after becoming quite dependent upon them they simply cease to work, because as the body metabolizes these substances, it also builds up a tolerance.  However, knowing of these additional risks prior to taking medications is incredibly helpful, because it arms patients with the knowledge they need to better care for themselves. For example knowing that you are at a higher risk for diabetes might motivate you to exercise daily and eat healthier foods. Such as eliminating simple carbs, sugars and starches. This knowledge might also motivate others who are in the position do so, to manage their disease without the use of  the harsh medications, while also embracing the importance of a “whole body” approach. I was fortunate enough to have several years of experience with natural, more healthier options to manage my AS and my exposure to Naprosyn was limited, but that does not mean that I’ve come away completely unscathed, because often the side effects from these medications are irreversible. I discontinued Diclofenac (a form of Naprosyn) after experiencing Gastritis prophylaxis, as a result of H. Phylori, a stomach infection.  Accompanied by my frustration with dropping 30 lbs, a year with severe stomach pain, no diagnoses and the fact that several specialists had no clue as to why I was so sick. Well, it was quite easy for me to connect my new, debilitating symptoms to the medication.  I also have additional symptoms to manage now, that I did not have prior to taking this medicine for several years.

I respect the extensive knowledge and medical training of my Rheumatologist, and completely understand that his recommendations were “medically” based and as a result I was convinced like perhaps many AS sufferers, that it was impossible to manage this disease without meds.  However, I’m living proof that this is in fact not true at all. If we’re willing to step outside the “medicine box” we can find many natural solutions. Of course needs & results will vary from person to person, but I’ve done quite well with a healthy eating regimen (low-carb, low-starch, no-dairy, no-gluten), regular exercise and by controlling both my pain and inflammation with natural Cox 2 Inhibitors. Patients need to know that they have options, prior to subjecting their bodies to these numerous side effects, and this is precisely what motivated me to launch The Positive Pear.

6 thoughts on “Ankylosing Spondylitis: Suseptibility to Other Conditions Due to Medication Side Effects

  1. Pingback: Low-Starch (or) Low-Carb? One Helps to Manage HLA-B27 Related IBS « The Positive Pear

  2. I am so happy I found your blog!!! I have known I have had the gene for AS since I was 16. But about 6 months after giving birth to my son my hips started to hurt. But it was different than my normal SI joint pain that I usually get, plus my knees were bothering me more than normal. Well my General Practitioner sent me for an x ray. According to my Rheumatologist there has been a change in bones in my hips. We don’t know yet if its the beginning of me fusing or if its bone damage or what. I have an MRI scheduled in the next couple of weeks. In the mean time, I have been doing research on what I can do for me so I don’t have to have meds as I prefer to avoid them. I have just discovered the low starch diet and have decided to give it a try. My dad is fully fused with no movement in his neck and ribcage, so I know first hand what AS can do. Thank you for helping me in navigating this next step. I am a believer that AS is a self help kind of disease. You can either let it get the best of you or you fight it and don’t let it stop you from doing what you want to do!

    • Jennifer~ I’m so happy that you’ve found The Positive Pear too!! I really enjoy interacting with like minded individuals. Your struggle with AS sounds very similar to mine and unfortunately I think it’s a sign of the progression of the disease. I also encountered hip pain relating to pregnancy and during my final trimester, I had difficulty walking up and down stairs. I continue to have hip discomfort after delivery. It was a few years after, that I had my SI joints x-rayed which showed very visible inflammation. Sacroiliitis developed later in life for me, in spite of having AS since childhood. In those days only my knees and ankles were affected. Also glad to hear that you’ve discovered the low-starch diet and I think it will be of great help. Since you’ve decided to avoid meds, I do highly encourage you to find an alternative solution to controlling both your pain and the damaging inflammation. These two symptoms are reduced greatly via a healthy low-starch diet, exercise and an overall “whole body” approach to managing the disease, but these methods of course do not eliminate these symptoms. I have a lot of healthy solutions posted here, and still have much more to post so please come back and visit often. Thinking of you and looking forward to hearing the results of your MRI. Big Hugs!!<3

  3. Pingback: Comfort Foods Fall/Winter & Holidays: Importance of Good Carbs « The Positive Pear

  4. woot! woot! Very glad to have stumbled upon your blog this eve – not even sure what I had googled. Although I don’t have AS I have turned around my health and my family’s as well due to a change in eating and hormone balance- I will be visiting again to peruse your anti-inflammatory recipes, which is the approach we took two years ago. I love the vibrant colors of your site as well – wonderful blog!

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