ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS

What Is It?

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by pain and progressive stiffness. It is part of a group of rheumatic diseases termed seronegative spondyloarthropathies (vertebral joints) that share the human antigen HLA-B27. Ankylosing spondylitis is seronegative (serum negative) because a rheumatoid factor is not detected in the patient's blood (serum).

Ankylosing spondylitis is considered to be hereditary, although environmental factors have been suggested. Most people with the HLA-B27 antigen do not develop AS. It is known to affect white males about four times as often as females. Onset typically occurs between the ages of 15 and 45.

In the early stages of the disease, the sacroiliac joints (back of the pelvis) become inflamed and painful. As the disease progresses, ossification is triggered by the body's defense mechanism. Ossification causes new bone to grow between vertebrae eventually fusing them together increasing the risk for fracture. Further, ossification may affect spinal ligaments causing spinal canal stenosis (narrowing), which can result in neurologic deficit.

Description and Diagnosis

Ankylosing Spondylitis (an-key-low-sing spon-dee-lie-tis) is a chronic and progressive inflammatory disease of the spine. It is characterized by early sacroiliac joint (say-kro-ill-e-ak, sacrum) involvement followed by hardening of the anulus fibrosus and surrounding connective tissue along with arthritic changes in the facet joints. The disease may cause the spine to gradually lose flexibility and stiffen. The disease is hereditary.

Facts and Tips about Ankylosing Spondylitis

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Ankylosing spondylitis usually starts in the sacroiliac joints (located at the back of the pelvis). It can then move up the spine and affect other regions, such as the low back (lumbar spine).

Ankylosing spondylitis is a rheumatic disease.

AS is more common in white males: it affects white males about four times as often as females.

Regular daily exercise is a wonderful way to deal with symptoms of AS.

Range of motion exercises help you maintain how well your joints move very important in AS.

Iritis (eye inflammation) is sometimes associated with ankylosing spondylitis.

Surgery is rarely needed for AS patients.

NSAIDs can help control the pain and inflammation of AS.

There is a connection between the genetic marker HLA-B27 and ankylosing spondylitis. Heredity does play a role in who develops AS

Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms usually first appear between the ages of 15 and 45.

Related Spinal Disorders

Sciatica

Sciatica

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Herniated Discs

Herniated Discs

Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical Spondylosis

Sciatica Causes

Sciatica Causes

Neck Pain

Neck Pain

Ruptured Disc

Ruptured Disc

Lumbar Spondylosis

Lumbar Spondylosis

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis

Bulging Disc

Bulging Disc

Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

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Ankylosing Spondylitis Animation Video

 

Ankylosing Spondylitis Video Transcript

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a condition that affects the joints and ligaments of the spine. The first sign of AS is usually inflammation of the sacroiliac joints.

The bones of the spine are connected by flexible ligaments and separated by cushioning discs, allowing you to bend and twist. Ankylosing Spondylitis can decrease the spine's flexibility, and can eventually lead to total loss of mobility.

This process begins with the inflammation of the bone around the edges of the sacroiliac joints. After enough bone damage has occurred, the body deposits calcium around the damaged area. These calcium deposits spread to ligaments and discs between the vertebrae leading to fusion of the spine.

Although there is no cure for AS, medication, physical therapy, and exercise can improve your condition and relieve pain.

There are several potential complications associated with this procedure that should be discussed with a doctor prior to surgery.

 

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