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Ankylosing Spondylitis & Related Diseases Information

VIDEO: What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis / Who Gets It? Dr. Elaine Adams

What is spondylitis?
Spondylitis (pronounced spon-d-lie-tiss) is the name given to a group of chronic or long lasting diseases also called Spondyloarthritis (SpA), (spon-dyl-oh-arthritis) or Spondyloarthropathy (spon-d-low-are-throp-ah-thee).

To further complicate matters, in blunt medical terminology, "spondylitis" is an "inflammation of the vertebra", where "ankylosis" refers to joint fusion or immobility.

This group of diseases primarily affect the spine (spondylo) and other joints. The group includes: ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis (formerly Reiter's syndrome), psoriatic arthritis, Juvenile SpA, enteropathic arthritis (spondylitis/arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease), and undifferentiated SpA. All display a variety of symptoms and signs, but they also share many features in common, including:

  • The Centers for Disease Control's NHANES study now estimates that at least 2.7 million adults in the USA have axial spondyloarthritis. For more information on this estimate, please click here.

  • A condition called enthesopathy, which is an inflammation where the ligaments attach to the bone

  • A tendency to occur in more than one family member

  • The absence of physical signs or testing markers that are found in other types of arthritis, such as sub-cutaneous nodules (or lumps under the skin) and a positive blood test for the rheumatoid factor

The complete medical term for this group of diseases is the "seronegative" spondyloarthritides. "Sero" refers to blood (blood serum) and "negative" indicates that there is usually no rheumatoid factor present in the blood.

Most types of SpA begin around the ages of 15-45. Most people with spondylitis lead long and productive lives. Certain complications, however, can lead to disability. It is important to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of the more serious complications.

It is important to note that back pain and joint pain from ankylosing spondylitis and related diseases is inflammatory in nature and not mechanical. For more information on mechanical vs. inflammatory back pain, please click here.

The Prevalence of Spondylitis
The Centers for Disease Control's NHANES study now estimates that at least 2.7 million adults in the USA have axial spondyloarthritis. For more information on this estimate, please click here.

More Information
Although there is currently no known cure, there is much you can do to educate yourself regarding spondylitis and its treatments (click here if you have been recently diagnosed). There have been significant advancements in medical treatments during recent years and there are treatment options for those afflicted that can reduce the pain and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis and related diseases. For more specific information, please see the links below and those to the left.


Spondylitis Treatment
   Treatment Information >>>
   Treatment Overview, Exercise & Posture

VIDEO: Dr. Michael Weisman's Introduction

This is a video sample - an introduction to Dr. Michael Wesiman's presentation at our Denver Spondylitis Educational Seminar.

SAA Members have access to Dr. Michael Wesiman's entire Spondylitis Educational Seminar presentation in the Member Area. We also have recordings of two webinars from prominent rheumatologists and 16 podcasts - audio interviews with experts.

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