What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Dr. Kam Shojania, MD FRCPC, Rheumatologist, discusses ankylosing spondylitis.

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Dr. Kam Shojania, MD FRCPC, Rheumatologist, discusses ankylosing spondylitis.
Video transcript

Featuring: Dr. Kam Shojania, MD, Rheumatologist

Duration: 2 minutes, 6 seconds

Ankylosing spondylitus is a long term for a disease that affects typically young men in the spines.

Ankylosing means joining together and spondylitus means spine inflammation. So typically this will occur in young men ages 20 to 30, but can occur in children, can occur in women. It is where back inflammation sets in and causes fusion of the spine and stiffness.

Ankylosing spondylitus affects about one in a thousand people. It runs in families, and it is associated with certain genes, such as HLAB27, which is the most common gene in ankylosing spondylitus.

It typically occurs in men between 20 to 30, three to one male to female, so it does occur in women. And people are very stiff in their backs, they will wake up in the morning, about 30 to 60 minutes of stiffness in the spine.

They may have pain where tendons insert onto bone, such as the heels and the bottom of the feet. It's often confused with plantar fasciitis. People with a s can often have inflammation of the eye called iritis, that is a medical urgency. It occurs in about 30 percent of people with ankylosing spondylitus, and it can be treated very nicely with eye drops if caught early.

If someone thinks he or she has ankylosing spondylitus the most important thing is to get assessed. Good history will determine whether the symptoms are typical of ankylosing spondylitus such as morning stiffness, pain in the typical areas such as the spine or the SI joints.

Also physical examination is very helpful to look at loss of range of mobility of the spine, and to look for the typical tender areas of the tendons. There are X-rays, other imaging studies, lab tests, and genetic tests that can help make the diagnosis.

Presenter: Dr. Kam Shojania, Rheumatologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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