Ankylosing Spondylitis (An-kee-low-sing Spon-dih-ly-tuss) is a disease that causes inflammation throughout the body, especially in the spine and low back, and can cause bone spurs to fuse joints together, typically in the spine. Additionally, since AS is systemic it can also damage organs including the eyes, liver, lungs, and more.
Other important facts:
Ankylosing Spondylitis is not rare. Over 2.7 million people in the USA are diagnosed with a form of Spondyloarthritis. That’s more than the number of people diagnosed with Lou Gherig’s (ALS) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) combined.
Ankylosing Spondylitis is not proven to be an autoimmune disease. Many researchers are currently calling it an immune-mediated inflammatory disease until more is discovered.
Here are two helpful sources that explain autoimmune, autoinflammatory, and where AS might or might not fit:
- This article by a rheumatologist explaining the differences between autoimmune and autoinflammatory. This was written in 2016; some information has since changed regarding AS classification.
- This explanation of how AS works and why it isn’t autoimmune by Dr. John Reveille, beginning at minute 32:24 of this video webinar.
For more information about AS and Spondyloarthritis, I recommend the Spondylitis Association of America. This link will take you to an overview of spondyloarthritis, the umbrella disease category under which Ankylosing Spondylitis falls: Spondyloarthritis: A Family of Related Diseases
The following are several organizations around the world that do work related directly to Spondyloarthritis/Ankylosing Spondylitis education, research, advocacy, awareness, and more. I have found a majority of these organizations and their links through the Ankylosing Spondylitis International Federation website. I have only included organizations that have active links (as of 11/26/2017). If you know of an organization I could add, please comment below.
Country/Region specific organizations:
Rheumatological professionals research organizations/annual conferences: