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Spondylarthropathy – How do you say that?

My GP keeps writing spondylarthropathy on my blood test forms. What the heck does that mean? Well, for a start here is a talking dictionary, so I can at least pronounce it! (with a dodgy American accent…)

spondylarthropathy

“Inflammation of the spine – of whatever cause – is called spondylitis. Although spondylitis occurs commonly in people with spondyoarthropathies by no means everyone gets it.
The spondyloarthropathy “family”
1 ankylosing spondylitis,
2 reactive arthritis (also known as Reiter’s syndrome),
3 enteropathic arthritis associated with the bowel disorders ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and
4 psoriatic arthritis associated with the skin disease psoriasis
^
Four conditions are regarded as being members of a family of disorders. Because of the common thread of spondylitis which can occur in each of these conditions, these four disorders are known as spondyloarthopathies (sometimes abbreviated to SpA).”
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Dr Andrew Keat is a consultant rheumatologist at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, Middlesex
http://www.arc.org.uk/news/arthritistoday/140_4.asp

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Okay, so from what I can gather, I may have inflammation of the spine because I have psoriatic arthritis (although they haven’t looked for it yet). You can get inflammation of the spine in a number of different diseases (AS, Reactive arthritis, EA, PA etc).  If the bones of the spine fuse then it is called ankylosis.

Ankylosying spondylitis (AS), Reactive arthritis, enteropathic arthritis and psoriatic arthritis (PA), are all “seronegative” types of arthritis, i.e. most people who have them do NOT test positive for RF, or rheumatoid factor in the blood, which is a found in 80% of people with rheumatoid arthritis (a seropositive type of arthritis).

Okay, I think I’ve got that straight in my head and I’ll try not to freak out if they start x-raying my spine. It seems that this is one of the areas that can be affected with psoriatic arthritis and it may not even cause any problems. Sometimes I feel like I am learning a foreign language.  How much harder would all this be if English wasn’t my native language? At least I have the time and internet access so I can look these things up. I am grateful for that.

Does it matter if I know, or can say these words?  Well, it does to me. I appreciate that not everyone wants to know the details but I do. It’s my body and I want to understand what is going on in it. It helps me if I can understand there are specific changes in PA that mean you can tell it apart from RA.   The better we get at dividing diseases into categories, the better we get at treating them.

Maybe, I’m only interested because my diagnosis is relatively new? or maybe I am interested because I’ve been living with pain for 20 years and I might now be getting some answers as to why? Who knows, psychologically I feel better knowing stuff, maybe, next year I’ll be happy to take the drugs and forget about it but for now, this blog is a place where I can store my research and my feelings because Lord knows, there isn’t enough room in my brain!