I had the son of a friend call me the other day to discuss some health issues that both he and I face. The two issues are ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and irritable bowel disease or IBDIBD. I have Crohn’s aswell as AS, he has ulcerative colitis and AS. The bowel diseases and AS share a common gene mutation, so one of these diseases is often accompanied by the other.
AS is an inflammatory disease that (over time) causes some of the small bones of your spine (vertebrae) and pelvis to fuse. This fusing makes flexibility an issue and can affect posture, and can cause a lot of pain. If the ribs are affected, deep breathing may be compromised.
AS affects men more often than women. Signs and symptoms typically occur in early adulthood, tho I didn’t notice my symptoms until the age of 50. Inflammation can also occur in other parts of your body-most notably, your eyes (thankfully mine don’t seem to be an issue).
There is no cure for AS, but there are medications that can help. There are NSAIDS, which I don’t care for, but others get relief using them. Also aspirin and opiates. Myself, I choose to do exercise, yoga, stretching, kung fu, and original strength (crawling, rolling, etc) to keep my strength and flexibility.
IBD can be devastating. Symptoms of needing to eliminate can pop up at any time. Blood in the stool is common and stress and fatigue are major issues. I’ve gotten great relief from humira. No symptoms, all is good. A word of caution to myself and anyone thinking of taking it; I’ve been on it less than 2 years, and the list of possible side-effects is long.
Medicines and exercises are not the only proactive approach. One of the most important (I think Most important) is diet.
The Mediterranean diet is a good place to launch your dietary change. Fatty fish, leafy greens, garlic, tomatoes, coconut milk (not water), pineapple, kimchi, sauerkraut, beet juice, and other fermented foods are great for the gut. It’s best to get probiotics from nature: Bananas, onions, leeks, garlic, the aforementioned fermented foods, avocado, and others.
Stress reduction is a must, though at times during a flare-up it is difficult to de-stress. My advice: Stay with it! If your de-stress tactics don’t seem to work at first, stay with it!!!!
If you would like to speak with me person-to-person, I’m available at 602-316-6026.
John R Blilie, MS, OSC