A Guide To Ankylosing Spondylitis

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What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory form of arthritis that predominantly targets the spinal vertebrae. It can cause chronic discomfort and pain that may be severe. The condition affects posture and reduces range of movement. Although very common, it is not always diagnosed promptly. It is more common in men and usually presents in young adulthood, worsening over time.

What Conditions Are Associated With Ankylosing Spondylitis?

In ankylosing spondylitis, inflammation focuses on the spine. Early symptoms include pain and discomfort in the lower back, which may include the hips. The symptoms are made worse by sleep and during periods of inactivity.

The spine is not the only part of the body that may be affected. Inflammation can spread to the pelvis, the ligaments and tendons of the heel, cartilage that supports the ribs, and the shoulder joints. In rare cases, inflammation can affect the eyes.

Pain that improves with exercise and worsens with rest is often the earliest noticeable sign of the disorder. This requires prompt medical attention. Emergency care should be sought if vision symptoms develop – including pain and redness in the eyes, blurry vision, or light sensitivity.

The body attempts to heal the damage caused by ankylosing spondylitis in time. Paradoxically, this can lead to permanent problems as new bone fuses vertebrae. New bone growth can also stiffen the rib cage and limit lung capacity. In rare cases, heart problems are possible.

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Ankylosing Spondylitis Recovery and Lifestyle Changes

Care for ankylosing spondylitis focuses on reducing the inflammation and maintaining the spinal vertebrae. Over long periods of time, untreated ankylosing spondylitis could cause vertebrae to fuse. This can aggravate the condition and cause additional symptoms.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to manage inflammatory disorders, including ankylosing spondylitis. They can be very effective. However, the patient must be monitored for signs or risk factors of gastrointestinal bleeding.

In more severe cases, a category of drugs called IL-17 inhibitors are used. These target interleukin-17, a cell protein that has a major role in promoting inflammation. IL-17 is also part of the body’s immune system, so treatment may raise the risk of certain infections.

Medical Research on Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is associated with a specific gene known as HLA-B27. People with this gene are much more likely than others to develop the condition. However, many people who do have the gene never develop it. Ankylosing spondylitis research has focused on a way to act directly on the gene and prevent its expression.

Studies have demonstrated that nearly half of all ankylosing spondylitis patients suffer from bowel inflammation. This is “subclinical” because it may not provoke symptoms or require any treatment, but it is measurable. This has led some medical researchers to suggest that the disorder may begin in the gut, with several studies exploring this possibility.

Current Ankylosing Spondylitis Clinical Trials

This list of ankylosing spondylitis clinical trials has been collected by ClinicalTrials.gov. To add a ankylosing spondylitis clinical trial to this list, contact our team.

Why Are More Ankylosing Spondylitis Clinical Trials Necessary?

Ankylosing spondylitis has been known for nearly 200 years, but its underlying mechanisms are not yet understood. Ankylosing spondylitis clinical trials are crucial to developing ankylosing spondylitis clinical resources that will be more efficient in slowing or stopping the disease.


Treatment for ankylosing spondylitis is limited, but today’s ankylosing spondylitis clinical trials point the way to better healthcare results. Ankylosing spondylitis patients can take an active role in finding a cure for ankylosing spondylitis, and so can healthy individuals who have the HLA-B27 gene.

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