Long-Term Ankylosing Spondylitis Linked to Cachexia

A 12 percent loss of muscle mass seen in patients compared with controls

THURSDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with long-standing ankylosing spondylitis and resulting radiological changes show evidence of cachexia compared to controls without the disease, according to a report in the November issue of the journal Rheumatology.

Samuele Marcora, M.D., of the University of Wales-Bangor in Bangor, U.K., and colleagues compared 19 male patients who had ankylosing spondylitis for an average of 19 years with 19 age-matched controls who reported similar levels of physical activity. The mean age of ankylosing spondylitis patients was 53 years and 84 percent had one or more syndesmophytes.

Ankylosing spondylitis patients showed 12 percent reduction in arm and leg mass, which is a proxy measure of total body skeletal muscle mass, compared with healthy controls. Moreover, this muscle wasting was significantly associated with reduced upper and lower body strength, the report indicates.

"Progressive resistance training and other interventions aimed at stimulating skeletal muscle growth might be beneficial in this population, and further studies on the pathophysiology of cachexia in ankylosing spondylitis patients are needed," the study authors conclude.

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