Ankylosing spondylitis (A.S.) is a form of arthritis that affects the spine, although other joints can become involved. It causes inflammation of the spinal joints that can lead to severe, chronic pain and discomfort. New studies are finding that diagnosing new patients can begin at birth.
In a study recently presented at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2015) press conference, AS can be predicted by low birth weight, having older siblings, and hospitalization for infection between the ages of five to 16 years. While the cause remains unknown, it’s estimated that 32 per 10,000 people in North America have A.S.
Dr. Ulf Lindström, Institute of Medicine, Rheumatology and Inflammation Research in Sweden stated, “Our research has identified three factors associated with significantly increased risk of the disease in later life. These data strengthen our understanding of the interplay between genetics and environment in A.S., and bring us closer to pinpointing the underlying cause of the disease.”
According to scientists at the Spondylitis Association of America, the risk factors that predispose a person to A.S. include:
- Testing positive for the HLA-B27 marker
- A family history of A.S.
- Frequent gastrointestinal infections
Tell us about your experience with A.S. Have you or a member of your family been diagnosed with A.S., and did you have any of the risk factors?
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