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What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

What is ankylosing spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a persistent (chronic) arthritic (rheumatic) disease. It is not known what causes it. It mainly affects the spine and the sacroiliac joints. Sometimes other joints and other parts of the body are affected. The word ankylosing means joining together or fusing. The word spondylitis means inflammation of the spine. The type of inflammation in AS causes the affected joints to join
together and become one bone.

Who gets ankylosing spondylitis?
AS most commonly begins between 20 and 30 years of age, but can occasionally first develop in children and older adults. It is three times more common in men than in women. There may be a family history with two or more members of a family being affected.
The most common symptom is pain in the low back. This pain usually:

  • Starts in early adulthood, usually before the age of 45
  • Comes on slowly
  • Lasts for more than 3 months
  • Is worse after resting, such as first thing in the morning
  • Feels better with movement
    In some cases, ankylosing spondylitis can lead to other problems, such as:
    Inflammation of part of the eye – This is called "iritis" or "uveitis" and it causes eye pain and blurry vision.
  • Problems with the spinal cord – Ankylosing spondylitis makes it more likely that the bones in the neck or back will break. This can sometimes happen even from a very small fall or accident. If these bones break, the spinal cord can be injured.
  • Problems with the way the heart valves work Breathing problems – Some people have stiffness between the ribs and spine. This can make it harder to breathe deeply and to exercise.
  • Inflammation of the inside of the intestines, which can present as blood in the stool, mucoid stool, diarrhea, mouth ulcers amongst other symptoms

This disease is best managed if caught early. Don't Delay Connect Today
Source: Up2Date patient information on Ankylosing spondylitis

ole in reducing the stiffness from the disease