Ankylosing Spondylitis, Rheumatologic Perspective (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
AS Rheumatologic Symptoms
Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis vary from person to person. Typical symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis include the following:
Ankylosing spondylitis can also be associated with inflammation of the eyes (iritis) or bowels (colitis). Mouth ulcers can sometimes occur. Skin inflammation, called psoriasis, can cause patchy, scaly redness. Rarely, the lungs can be injured due to a scarring condition called fibrosis. Some people with ankylosing spondylitis can develop irregular electrical pathways in the heart.=
AS Exams and Tests
The diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis is made by combining clinical information with findings of a variety of tests. The diagnosis is suggested by typical symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis described above, and supported by a family history of ankylosing spondylitis, x-ray film findings, and a positive test for the gene for HLA-B27. People with active ankylosing spondylitis can have elevated blood tests that measure inflammation, such as the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein. Blood counts can indicate anemia (low red blood count). If symptoms are present, and the gene marker for HLA-B27 is detected on blood testing, ankylosing spondylitis is considered. Of note, the absence of the gene marker for HLA-B27 means that ankylosing spondylitis is less likely to be present. However, blood relatives of people with ankylosing spondylitis could have the condition without having the HLAB27 marker.
X-ray examination of the spine of people with ankylosing spondylitis can reveal characteristic bony changes in the sacroiliac joints and the spine. MRI or CT scan can be used to detect early signs of inflammation in the sacroiliac joints and the spine that may not be visible with simple x-ray tests. However, because of their high cost, MRI and CT scans are not part of the routine examinations of people with suspected ankylosing spondylitis.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/9/2016
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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.