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Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis

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About this cause:

Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) was founded in 1983 by people affected by ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine, although other joints can become involved. It normally occurs in younger people, between the ages of 17 and 45. SAA was the first and remains the largest resource in the United States for people seeking information on AS and related diseases. Our mission is to be a leader in the quest to cure AS and related diseases, and to empower those affected to live life to the fullest.

Spondyloarthritis is a form of arthritis that primarily 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. In the most advanced cases (but not in all cases), 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. This forward curvature of the spine is called kyphosis. More information on kyphosis and fusion can be found in the complications ( section.

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 rarely, the lungs and heart can be affected. See the Complications of Spondylitis: How is a Person Affected? ( page for more information.

The hallmark feature of ankylosing spondylitis is the involvement of the sacroiliac (SI) joints during the progression of the disease, which are the joints at the base of the spine, where the spine joins the pelvis.

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 (