Bring awareness and a cure to Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic, or life long autoimmune disease. The severity of AS has nothing to do with age or gender. It can be just as severe in women and children as it is in men.
Ankylosing spondylitis (pronounced ank-kih-low-sing spon-dill-eye-tiss), or AS, is a disease that often affects the spine, although other joints can become involved. It causes inflammation of the spinal joints (vertebrae) that can lead to severe, chronic pain and discomfort. This inflammation can lead to new bone formation on the spine, causing the spine to fuse in a fixed, immobile position, sometimes creating a forward-stooped posture.
AS can also cause inflammation, pain and stiffness in other areas of the body such as the shoulders, hips, ribs, heels and small joints of the hands and feet. Sometimes the eyes can become involved (known as Iritis or Uveitis), and the lungs and heart can be affected.
Note that AS can present differently at onset in women than in men. Quoting Dr. Elaine Adams, "Women often present in a little more atypical fashion so it's even harder to make the diagnoses in women." For example, anecdotally we have heard from women with AS who have stated that their symptoms started in the neck rather than in the lower back.
Fatigue may also result from the inflammation caused by AS. The body must expend energy to deal with the inflammation, thus causing fatigue. Also, mild to moderate anemia, which may also result from the inflammation, can contribute to an overall feeling of tiredness.
Is There a Cure?
Currently, there is no known cure for AS, but there are treatments and medications available to reduce symptoms and manage the pain. Recent studies show that the new biologic medications can potentially slow or halt the disease progression in some people.
1. AS has nothing to do with age or gender.
2. AS is a chronic, or life long disease.
3. Currently, there is no known cure for AS.