Ankylosing Spondylitis - Arthritis Research | Arthritis National Research Foundation
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Ankylosing Spondylitis

What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an inflammatory condition that, if left untreated, can result in the fusing of some of the vertebrae in your spine. When your vertebrae fuse, your spine is less flexible leading to pain, inflammation, reduced posture, difficulty breathing and a reduced quality of life.

 

Affecting more men more than women, ankylosing spondylitis often shows up in early adulthood. While AS mostly affects the spine, inflammation can be experience in other areas of your body, most notably, in your eyes.

 

There are treatments that can lessen your symptoms and possibly slow down ankylosing spondylitis progression, but currently there is no cure.

What is ankylosing spondylitis?

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Signs and Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Pain and stiffness
    • Lower back
    • Hips
  • Neck pain
  • Fatigue

 

As time progresses your symptoms may worsen, improve or stop. Ankylosing Spondylitis is unpredictable.

 

The areas most commonly affected are:

 

  • Sacroiliac joint (the joint between the base of your spine and your pelvis)
  • Vertebrae in your lower back
  • Areas where your tendons and ligaments attach to bones
    • mainly in your spine, but sometimes along the back of your heel
  • Cartilage between your breastbone and ribs
  • Hip joints
  • Shoulder joints
Risk Factors For Ankylosing Spondylitis

The risk factors for Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) come down to your sex, your age and your heredity. Your sex plays a role because men are more likely to develop AS than are women. Your age is a factor because if you are going to develop AS you will mostly likely do so in your late adolescence or early adulthood years. And lastly, your heredity is important because the majority of people who develop ankylosing spondylitis have the HLA-B27 gene. The HLA-B27 gene has become a strong indicator of AS, however, many people who are carriers of this gene never develop ankylosing spondylitis. Therefore, it is not the sole determinant of developing AS.

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*Statistics and facts from the CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, www.CDC.gov