RE: Ankylosing Spondilitis
My family can't stop bugging me for free medical advice - and worse still, I give it freely instead of keeping stum. As such, at family gatherings there is a line up of people wanting to talk to me about this wee hurt and that weird boil and whatever. The husband of my wife's first cousin is just moving into the Chief of Medicine post at one of the hospitals in one of the middle sized towns outside of Zurich, and whenever we get together, we have a rule - ten minutes shop talk at the beginning, and then only politics, philosophy, religion and kids. Lots about kids.
Just curious - were you already told of your genetic marker while your father was around (assuming from the "was" that he is no longer on this plane)?
On the whole, I think you need not look up Aortic Insufficiency until you are strongly symptomatic - you will only freak yourself out for nothing. At this point, as I said, great strides are being made in heading off the worst of AS via treating the root cause of it, and in ten years there might be a lot of major advances - plenty of time for you, as this is a slow developing disease at first.
And yes, please mention all this in your check-up. Your doctor can't help if you don't give him the best possible information. Write everything down before hand in bullet point format, then you have a crib sheet to work from when you talk to him and nothing gets left out. I guess your dad didn't mention that one, either.
There is evidence that in some patients it stabilizes after 40, but not in all - it is an autoimmune disease, and that means it is heavily dependent on factors that are hard to track - this is where you have the Dr. House types playing detective. Diet, exercise, environment, attitude all play a significant part in the progress of the disease. Genetics is only one factor - it points to the potential, but the trigger factors on whether the gene is expressed (meaning it does what we hoped it might not do - develop into a disease or syndrome) is complex and in each individual the case is quite different as to whether it is expressed or not. In the same way, there is considerable variance as to when that expression seems to end, or if it does, or goes dormant, or what. Auto-immune diseases are a bitch and a half for medicos to figure out. I have a dear friend, perhaps the true love of my life, had I not met She Who Must Be Obeyed, who has, since her teens, gone from one auto-immune disease to another - she is now 53 and should have been dead at least ten years from Multiple Myeloma, but she is still in there batting, helping people in Cambodia. She should have been crippled or dead 20 years already from MS, she was pregnant 8 times, but Erythroblastosis fetalis killed all 8 fetus, the list goes on - each one expressed itself, then spontaneously went into remission, and the next one came out - why she continues to go from one autoimmune disease to the next is a mystery, yet she survives each one, because at some point they seem to turn off in her. No one can figure it, and I honestly am beginning to believe that it has something to do with her attitude and her love of life and of the living, and maybe her bloody-mindedness. So, take her as a lesson - you can't be sure how this will play out, and while it is alright to be informed about possible outcomes, the actual ones will be unique to you. In the meantime, my best advice, beyond what I have already given you, is eat healthy, keep the weight down, reduce your environmental and dietary factors that may exacerbate any incipient diseases, and stay positive and proactive. And don't smoke or anything stupid like that.
(This post was last modified: 01-02-2015 07:40 PM by DocWils.)