Ankylosing spondylitis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation. As a result, this causes damage in and around the joints and tendons. It is associated with the HLA-B27 gene variant. If you have this gene it means that you are more at risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis.

As an inflammatory disease, it progressively worsens and damages the joints which can lead to fused bones (where they can no longer move) and other serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Early diagnosis is essential for slowing progression of the disease and establishing good control.

Although the primary symptoms are pain and stiffness in the lower back, it can have a wider impact on the body. Other common symptoms include warmth in the affected joint(s), fatigue, insomnia, and swelling in other areas of the body (most commonly the knees and hips). That being said, not everyone with the condition will have these symptoms.

It is quite common for people with ankylosing spondylitis to also suffer from irritable bowel disease, osteoporosis, psoriasis, and issues with sight. Learn more about ankylosing spondylitis.