New Disease of the Day: Ankylosing Spondylitis

Note: This is not intended to insult people who actually suffer from this and other painful and debilitating conditions. Far from it. Instead, I would like to insult those who claim it and other diseases without benefit of a diagnosis in order to gain sympathy, weasel out of work, or make me want to kill them.

It’s a ancient tale, going back to the first time a caveman found that affecting a limp got him out of hunting or going to war with the tribe over the hill. However, mass media gave hypochondriacs a world of maladies to not have, but to say they had. In the early Seventies doctors learned to watch Marcus Welby, MD because if last night’s show was about ectopic pregnancy, this morning their waiting rooms would be full of 80-yr-old women–and men–claiming to have the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy.

In recent years we’ve been through waves of people claiming diverticulitis, fibromyalgia, celiac disease, lactase deficiency, gluten allergy, and others without having presented any symptoms before the condition became “hip,” and whose symptoms magically disappear when a new disease hits the Top Ten with a bullet.

I am afraid that the Next Big Thing will be ankylosing spondylitis because I heard an ad on the radio that literally told fit, young men that their back pain is not from working too hard or working out too hard, but it’s because they have ankylosing spondylitis that must be treated NOW to prevent them from being crippled. :smack:

Yes, it can cripple you, and yes, young men listening to rock radio are in the class where symptoms become noticeable and early diagnosis and treatment can help, but it is not especially common (129 of every 100,000 people in the US per the Mayo Clinic) and this shows every likelihood of flushing out every person with a backache and pushing them straight into the arms of the quacks who run the ads. So mark my words: You will soon meet many people with self-diagnosed ankylosing spondylitis because it will be THE disease of the next few months. They’ll be pains in the ass, but you still can’t kill them.

Been hanging around the Spondylitis Association message boards? A TON of folks self-diagnosing there. It’s irritating.

I actually have this disease - diagnosed by a rheumatologist. I’m lucky in that I’m doing well, don’t have a particularly bad case, and respond well to medication.
One of the problems with AS is that it’s difficult to diagnose early on. The initial symptoms are pretty non-specific, and unlike Rheumatoid Arthritis, there’s nothing to look for on bloodwork. By the time spinal fusion is visible on X-rays, someone may have had the disease for ten years or longer. A lot of rheumatologists feel that the incidence is probably much higher than the official numbers say because of the difficulties in diagnosis, particularly in women - who tend to have less spinal fusion and more joint symptoms then men do.

Mild back pain in a young person is probably just muscular strain. Severe, disabling, recurrent back pain needs to be looked at. I haven’t heard the ad in question but if they’re suggesting someone with mild pain see a rheumatologist right away that’s just screwy.

No, they are suggesting someone with mild pain see THEM right away, triggering this thread. IIRC, the ad was on WLUP, which at one time seemed to be entirely supported by ads by Kevin Trudeau. That relationship was ended only by his first visit to the Federal penal system. I’m not saying that they are related, and station management has changed often over the years. Maybe what I’m saying is that radio stations are not very careful about the ad time they sell.

The one I heard was definitely a “see your rheumatologist” ad. It’s weird, though. It’s phrased with all this “it’s not your fault” stuff, as if people with arthritis and bulging discs and spina bifida are somehow responsible for their own back pain. :rolleyes:

I know you’ll be shocked to find out it’s part of an “awareness campaign” by…Abbott Laboratories.

Sometimes I think the anti-“Big Pharma” conspiracy theorists have a point.

(On the other hand, yay for raising awareness and maybe getting some people in to their doctor.)

Oh. That’s different. Never mind! [/Litella]

No, actually, it’s not different, you are right, and it’s worse when a big company that didn’t hire me employs scare tactics that are so cheap and low-down that not only I thought they were a clinic run by Dr Nick Riviera (Hi, Doctor Nick!) but they will trigger another Maladie du Jour. I’m sick of people deciding they are sick or disabled (I’m looking at YOU, Wife, not just the sister you make fun of) with whatever the new thing is.

I think I have restless spondylitis syndrome.

Oh, fuck, I had forgotten about Restless Leg Syndrome. I used to have it now and then before it had a name and found that the cure was getting some fucking exercise.

I have to say I disagree with you here. My father has this, and his case is severe. To say it affects and inhibits his daily life is an understatement. He has had it as long as I can remember, and it has always been a factor in what he can and cannot do. As he ages it is only get worse. If this ad causes just one person to go see his rheumatologist and it prevents him or from severe disability my father suffers from daily, then I consider it worth annoying you.

No offense, but you saying what you are saying is like saying, “Oh great, now every woman who feels a lump in her breast is going to run off to get checked for breast cancer.” A great deal of the time, it’s not cancer, but when it is and its caught early, it severely impacts how the desease will affect one’s life. I see no difference here. Good for them for spreading awareness on a little known disease which can have a sever impact on an affected individual’s life. I see no downside to the ad.

Kkrose, I would like you to meet BigT. I’m not sure that preventing one person who is not me* from severe disability is worth creating dozens of him. :wink:

I just learn about Morgellons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgellons

No less than Joni Mitchell claims to suffer from it: http://morgellonspgpr.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/joni-mitchell-talks-about-her-battle-with-morgellons-disease/

Those aren’t, but people who insist on running several miles on asphalt with inadequate shoes when they’ve already had two knee operations and despite the advice of every medical or sports professional who knows them? Those, I know a few sports and medical pros whose vocabulary when describing the level of idiocy involved is amazingly interesting.

Yeah - why do we need another diagnosis. You’d think fibromyalgia, myofascitis, myofibrositis, etc. and good old chronic pain syndrome would be enough! :stuck_out_tongue:

Point taken. (Checks forum) Point taken, doodyhead*.

*Just so nothing falls through the bilingual cracks (even though your English is generally better than mine), “doodyhead” is a mild playground insult not often seen outside primary school, used in jest. :wink:

It would be difficult for any drug company to profit from this pseudo-ailment, seeing as a CDC-sponsored study has debunked it.

I am intrigued by the suggestion that diverticulitis is an invented disease, and I haven’t seen any pharma ads urging people to load up on drugs to treat it. Cite?

They also run that on WBBM.

Spontaneous ankylosaur.

And we wonder why health care costs are out of control…

I found it interesting that one of the side effects of the Restless Leg Syndrome drug was “increased sexual urges and behaviors”. This led me to believe that this drug didn’t cure the problem, it just moved it a few feet north.

:smiley:

A diagnosis you guys made because I made a single comment on a message board. Somehow, I’ll trust my doctor who does actual medical tests over a bunch of people like you who hate my guts and have a chronic inability to separate what facts they know from the fictions they create about people. You have one fucking post from me claiming a disorder. One.

You know what? As someone who has a disorder verified by a doctor, this shit pisses me off, too, because it leads to shitheads like you who assume that everyone who thinks they have a disorder is faking it. The one good side, with Celiac at least, is that it means that gluten free food is in high demand.

And my grandfather has diverticulitis, which came about due to his bowel surgery. Oh, did I not mention that I have a fucking family history of bowel disorders, and that was part of why I got the diagnosis I did? I guess I don’t think everyone in the world has the rights to my medical information.

It’s one thing to shit on me in that thread. It’s another to take the made up shit about me from that thread and present it as fact elsewhere. It’s kinda ironic that you were duped by the same type of shit that you are complaining against. The only difference is that you were duped by preying on your anger and frustration instead of fear.

About what I’d expect from a guy with a pathological hatred of comic books that he can only admit to himself when he’s drunk.