If you have AS, your clinical team will pass information about you on to the National Congenital Anomaly and Rare Diseases Registration Service (NCARDRS). The symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) can vary from person to person, but usually develop slowly, over several months or years.
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Read more about the causes of ankylosing spondylitis.
AS tends to first develop in teenagers and young adults.
If your GP thinks you may have the condition, they should refer you to a rheumatologist (a specialist in conditions affecting muscles and joints) for further tests and any necessary treatment. In AS, various areas of the spine and other joints become inflamed.
As well as causing pain, stiffness and swelling, this inflammation can damage affected areas of the body over time, and in some cases can lead to some of the individual bones of the spine fusing (joining together). It is not known what causes the condition, but there is thought to be a link with a particular gene known as HLA-B27.
However, treatment is available to relieve the symptoms and help prevent or delay its progression. For some people, the condition improves after an initial period of inflammation, whereas for others the condition can get progressively worse over time.