Max Rady College of Medicine

Term: Ankylosing spondylitis

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Glossary Definition

Last Updated: 2018-01-24


A type of arthritis of the spine, also known as rheumatoid spondylitis. This chronic condition causes inflammation between the vertebrae (the bones forming the spine) and in the joints between the spine and pelvis. It can affect other joints in some individuals. Early symptoms of AS include back pain and stiffness, often beginning in late adolescence or early adulthood. Over time, AS can fuse the vertebrae together resulting in limited movement. Symptoms may be transient in some and severe, ongoing and painful in others.

AS is diagnosed based on medical history, physical examination, and possibly imaging or blood tests. There is no cure for AS; medications, eating a healthy diet, cessation of smoking and exercise can relieve symptoms and may keep the disease from getting worse. In rare cases, surgery is used to straighten the spine.

See MedlinePlus® - Health Topics - Ankylosing Spondylitis for more clinical information.

See the concept Arthritis - Measuring Prevalence for more information about the algorithms and methods used to define arthritic conditions in MCHP research.

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Term used in 

  • Lix L, Yogendran M, Burchill C, Metge C, McKeen N, Moore D, Bond R. Defining and Validating Chronic Diseases: An Administrative Data Approach. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2006. [Report] [Summary] (View)

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