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Ankylosing Spondylitis Overview

What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is one of the many types of arthritis. "Ankylosing" means joining together or stiffening; "spondylitis" means inflammation of the vertebral bones of the spine. Inflammation of the bones in AS can lead to degeneration, pain, and loss of joint motion. AS typically affects the spine but can been seen in other areas, especially the hips. Ankylosing spondylitis can range from a mild to more severe disease in patients.

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Ankylosing spondylitis is approximately three times more common in males than females. It is usually diagnosed in young adults, with a peak onset between 20 and 30 years of age. Children may also be affected by a form of AS termed “juvenile ankylosing spondylitis”,seen in children younger than 16 years of age.

There is evidence suggesting a strong genetic component in the development of the disease. Those with a family history of AS involving a first degree relative (i.e. mother, father, siblings) will be 5 to 16 times more likely to develop AS.
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