About Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis is also called as the Forestier’s disease. It is a spondyloathropathy. It is not an inflammatory disease. The principal manifestation is the ossification and calcification of spinal ligaments. Various abnormalities are seen. The most common one is the bilateral calcification that is seen on both the sides of thoracic spine.

The exact cause is still unknown. There are many significant factors such as dietary, long term use of anti-depressants and mechanical factors. These factors are correlated. However there is no cause or effect. The spin is curved forward due to the fusion of vertebral column.

There is one distinctive feature of Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis. This includes the linear calcification of antero-medial aspect of thoracic spine. The occurrence of this disease is usually found in people who are above 60 years of age. It is very rare in the age groups of 40’s and 30’s. The spread of this disease can be seen to other joints of the body as well. This includes the shoulders, neck, hips, ribs, pelvis, ankles and knees.

As the disease progresses, the complications increase. The complications include paralysis, disphagia and pulmonary infections. This disease is very similar to that of ankylosing spondylitis.  They are two separate diseases. The latter one is a genetic disease and the organs are affected by it. However, there is no indication of genetic link in Forestier’s disease. Other than the lungs, no other organs are affected.

This can sometimes be seen as a radiological abnormality and it is usually without any symptoms. The most common complaint is the thoracic spine pain. The occurance is seen in 80 percent of the people. People may also notice morning stiffness. There is increased incidence of dysphagia as well. The treatment options also vary to a great extent. NSAID’s such as Naproxen and ibuprofen can be used for treating the condition.