- Take the Ankylosing Spondylitis Quiz
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- Patient Comments: Ankylosing Spondylitis - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Ankylosing Spondylitis - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Ankylosing Spondylitis - Experience
- Patient Comments: Ankylosing Spondylitis - Severity and Progression
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- Ankylosing spondylitis facts
- What is ankylosing spondylitis?
- What causes ankylosing spondylitis?
- What are ankylosing spondylitis symptoms and signs?
- How is ankylosing spondylitis diagnosed?
- What are ankylosing spondylitis treatment options?
- Is it possible to prevent ankylosing spondylitis?
- What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with ankylosing spondylitis?
- What is in the future for patients with ankylosing spondylitis?
- Where can people find more information about ankylosing spondylitis and learn about support groups?
Quick GuideBack Pain Myths: Get the Facts About Causes and Treatment
Is it possible to prevent ankylosing spondylitis?
There is no prevention for this inherited (genetic) disease. Prevention measures are directed toward preventing complications of the disease with optimal treatments and monitoring for side effects of the treatments. Exercise can help to maintain flexibility.
What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients with ankylosing spondylitis?
The outlook for patients with ankylosing spondylitis is very much dependent upon the location and severity of its manifestations. The prognosis is best for those who maintain close monitoring with the treating doctors and who incorporate physical activities designed to maintain mobility. Quitting smoking is essential for the best long-term outcome. It has been found that people with ankylosing spondylitis have somewhat of an increased risk for coronary artery disease. This increased risk appears to be caused by chronic inflammation. Therefore, it is important to optimize all modifiable cardiac risks, including elevated blood pressure and cholesterol.
What is in the future for patients with ankylosing spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis and each of the spondyloarthropathies are areas of active research. The relationship between infectious agents and the triggering of chronic inflammation is vigorously being pursued. Factors that perpetuate "autoimmunity" are being identified. The characteristics of the gene marker HLA-B27 are being further defined. In fact, there are now known to be seven different subtypes of HLA-B27.
The impact of the recent discovery of the two additional genes, ARTS1 and IL23R, associated with ankylosing spondylitis (described above under "Causes") cannot be overstated. These genes seem to play a role in influencing immune function. It is anticipated that by understanding the effects of each of these known genes researchers will make significant progress in discovering a cure for ankylosing spondylitis.
As more about the precise mechanisms these genes use to influence the immune system is understood, the discovery of a cure will be possible. Moreover, results of ongoing research will lead to a better understanding and optimal treatment options of the entire group of diseases collectively known as spondyloarthropathies.