We help you to live healthy life.
Definition
Ankylosing spondylitis is a disease of the joints especially of the spine, found commonly in early twenties or later. It is a type of chronic degenerative arthritis, where there is long standing inflammation of the spinal vertebrae, predominantly the joints between the spine and pelvis (sacroiliac joints), affecting more of the neck and/or lower back.

Ankylosing spondylitis is also called as Marie-Strumpell arthritis, Bechterew’s disease or Pierre- Marie’s disease. The name is derived from the Greek word where, “ankylos” means fusion or stiffening , “spondylos” means vertebra and “itis” means inflammation. As the name suggests, it leads to progressive fusion of the joints of the spine leading to painful stiffness of the back.

The patient is often seen walking with a stoop posture due to a rigid spine in the later stages. Hence it is also called as “bamboo” spine, as in the X ray film the spine looks stiff like a bamboo. 

Ankylosing spondylitis majorly affects the spine, but it can also involve the ribs, eyes, heart, lungs etc. 
Incidence:
It affects about 0.1% to 0.5% of the adult population. Males are more commonly affected than females. Ankylosing spondylitis can occur at any age but is often triggered in the men who are in their teens and adults between 20 to 40 years of age. When it affects the children the condition is called a juvenile ankylosing spondylitis.
Causes:
The causes include a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Genetics: It is found that about 90% of individuals suffering from ankylosing spondylitis are born with the HLA B27 gene (Human Leukocyte Antigen). However, HLA B27 is not the absolute diagnostic criterion for the disorder. Many individuals suffering from similar symptoms might have the HLA B27 test negative, where the condition is known as seronegative ankylosing spondylitis. At the same time, all the patients who are positive for HLA B27 may not have actual Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Autoimmunity: The underlying mechanism which triggers this disorder is autoimmune, which is again genetically inherited.

Long standing stress: Stress can be a major triggering factor for ankylosing spondylitis. Individuals under prolonged stress situations give a sufficient reason to provoke this disorder at some stage in their life.