Ankylosing Spondylitis, Rheumatologic Perspective (cont.)
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AS Rheumatologic Causes
A combination of genetic and environmental factors is believed to cause ankylosing spondylitis, but the exact cause is unknown. Studies have shown that most people with ankylosing spondylitis have the gene for HLA-B27. A person with the gene for HLA-B27 is not guaranteed to develop ankylosing spondylitis; however, having the gene increases the likelihood of developing ankylosing spondylitis. It is felt that in some people, infection of the intestines with certain bacteria (such as Klebsiella) may trigger an reaction to cause the joint inflammation in people with the gene for HLA-B27, eventually leading to the development of ankylosing spondylitis.
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The spondyloarthropathies (SpAs) are a family of related disorders that includes ankylosing spondylitis (AS), reactive arthritis (ReA; also known as Reiter syndrome [RS]), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), spondyloarthropathy associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), undifferentiated spondyloarthropathy (USpA), and, possibly, Whipple disease and Behçet disease.