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Ankylosing Spondylitis, Neurologic Perspective (cont.)

What Are Neurologic Causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis?

The genes we inherit seem to play a major role in the risk for developing AS. Most Caucasian people with AS have the human leukocyte antigen B27 (HLA-B27) antigen, but not everyone who has that antigen develops AS. In a genetically susceptible individual, it is conceivable that infectious agents might stimulate an abnormal immune response, causing the development of AS.

What Are Neurologic Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Patient Comments
  • Low back pain and stiffness gradually increase over three or more months. The pain is usually described as follows:
    • Worse in the morning with improvement during the day
    • Better with activity and worse with inactivity (This finding helps in distinguishing AS from mechanical low back pain.)
    • Gradual ascending pattern from the lumbar region to the thoracic spine and then the cervical spine
    • Improves in response to anti-inflammatory medications
  • Some people with AS experience proximal joint (hips, knees) involvement. Rarely, people with AS may complain mostly of small joint (ankles, toes [metatarsophalangeal joints]) involvement. Arm joints are rarely involved.
  • People with AS may describe pain and stiffness of the rib cage. Breathlessness on exertion may be experienced. In long-standing disease, a small percentage of patients may develop fibrosis (scarring) in the upper lobes of the lungs.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017

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