[Xi’an, August 17, 2016] Xian Janssen is launching China’s first Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) Awareness Day on 27 August 2016 to encourage those at ‘high risk’ of AS, an extremely debilitating condition that affects approximately five million men and women with their lives ahead of them in China, ?to “Stand Tall for Life, I Insist”.?
This important new campaign aims to raise awareness and educate those at ‘high risk’ of developing the condition of its symptoms and encourages early consultation with a rheumatology specialist at an authorized hospital to enable access to timely treatment.
AS is a systemic inflammatory disease which mainly involves the spine, as well as peripheral joints such as the hip joint and extra-articular organs and tissues including the eyes, gastrointestinal tract or the skin.?
Unlike other forms of arthritis and rheumatic diseases, general onset of AS commonly occurs in younger people, between the ages of 20-30 years in China. AS is more common in men, but occurs in women as well1.?
Many young people miss their best opportunity to receive treatment due to late diagnosis, which can cause spinal ankyloses, kyphosis deformity, arrested development, loss of motor function, or even disability, severely affecting employment, mental health and overall quality of life .
“Many patients very often mistake the inflammatory back pain caused by AS for back pain caused by exercise or other reasons. According to some studies, diagnosis of AS is commonly delayed to between 5 and 10 years in China , mainly due to low awareness of AS amongst those at ‘high risk’ and the complexity of its symptoms ,” said Prof. He Lan, Chairman of the Chinese Rheumatology Association of Shaanxi Medical Association and Director of Rheumatology and Immunology Department, No.1 Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University.?
Prof. He emphasized the significance of early discovery and diagnosis for patients with AS, and strongly suggested that individuals under the age of 40 who experience back pain lasting more than 3 months, including lower or chronic back pain, morning stiffness, or pain at night, should promptly be assessed by a rheumatologist, so as to not delay treatment or affect the prognosis.
“This is the third year that Xian Janssen has held an AS summer campaign. This year, Xian Janssen initiates the ‘Stand Tall for Life, I Insist’ AS campaign and launches ‘AS Awareness Day’ on August 27 to raise public awareness of AS, especially amongst youth ?in China, and hopes fewer young people suffer from disability caused by AS.
“In order to help more AS patients be diagnosed early, receive standardized treatment and achieve a better quality of life, thus getting back to life as soon as possible, we will continue to provide innovative medical solutions, launch disease awareness campaigns, support patient access programs and spare no efforts to improve Chinese patients’ well-being,” said Ms. Zheng Lei, Vice President of Xian Janssen Pharmaceutical Ltd.?
The campaign includes a series of online and offline activities such as Doctor’s Talk Show, an AS educational video, an AS featured Webpage, a celebrity and KOL engagement video to launch on the AS Awareness Day, and media roundtables.
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It is noteworthy that AS will lead to hip involvement in approximately one third of patients , and is more likely to occur in patients with early onset of the disease . Hip involvement has a fast onset and development, and causes narrowing of the joint space, stiffness and deformity. Left untreated, it can develop into an advanced stage, which causes difficulty in walking, squatting and sitting, and even complete loss of self-care ability due to disability .
Moreover, 42% of AS patients have one or multiple extra-articular manifestations, affecting the eyes, gastrointestinal tract, skin, cardiovascular system, kidneys or lungs . ?Serious extra-articular organ impairment may cause death ?.
Therefore, for AS patients with hip involvement or extra-articular manifestations, it is crucial to access treatment at an early stage and to receive active interventions during the progression of the disease.?
About Treatment of AS
Available treatments for AS include traditional therapy, biological treatment and surgical management.?
According to the treatment guidelines and clinical experiences of AS both domestically and abroad, it is recommended for AS patients with hip involvement or extra-articular manifestation to receive intravenous administration of biologics with adequate dosage and duration in order to rapidly and effectively control the progression of the disease, prevent new bone formation in the joints and bone destruction, and avoid disability.
(Prof. He Lan, Chairman of the Chinese Rheumatology Association of Shaanxi Medical Association and Director of Rheumatology and Immunology Department, No.1 Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University.)
(Prof. Wu,?Director of Clinical Immunology Department,?No.1 Affiliated Hospital of the Fourth Military Medical University)
(Prof. Zhang, Director of Rheumatology and Immunology Department, Tang Du Hospital of?the Fourth Military Medical University)