I hate the sound of the word “lesion.” I think it ranks right up there with the word “moist” in icky-ness.
And I’m willing to guess men with axial spondyloarthritis (axial SpA) aren’t big fans of the word, either.
Why? Because according to at least one article, axial SpA men are more likely to have a high score in disease activity when they have inflammatory lesions in their sacroiliac joints.
Women, on the other hand, don’t.
For those of you who don’t already know, axial spondyloarthritis is an inflammatory rheumatic disease—it predominantly affects the joints and muscles of the pelvic area and spine (the axial skeleton), causing pain and swelling.
And even though it has the word “arthritis” buried in it, axial spondyloarthritis is NOT your garden variety, everyday-wear-and-tear arthritis (that’s called “osteoarthritis”).
Now, I said “pelvic area,” but that’s not quite accurate. Axial SpA affects the sacroiliac joints(SJ)—those are the ones between the upper portion of your hip bones (aka ilium) and the large triangular bone at the base of your spine (the sacrum). The sacrum supports your spine, and the ilia supports your sacrum.
In other words, they’re pretty important—and they hurt like the dickens when inflamed.
So… back to the article that brought all this up: A lesion is an injured or diseased spot on or in the body. The Leiden University Medical Center researchers found men with higher overall disease activity also had more sacroiliac lesions show up on their MRIs. But for females, there was not such correlation.
The research team wasn’t sure about the “whys” and “so whats?” of this discovery, but it may be helpful to know that measures of disease activity (which can affect treatment decisions) differ according to gender.
Stay tuned for the next fascinating development!