Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)



A chronic form of arthritis that causes inflammation of the joints and over time can cause some of the vertebrae of the spine to fuse.

Common Symptoms

Inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the shoulders, hips, ribs, heels, and small joints of the hands and feet, pain, stiffness, and inflammation in other joints, difficulty taking deep breaths if the joints connecting the ribs are affected, feeling fatigued, loss of appetite and weight loss, skin rashes, and abdominal pain and loose bowel movements. In rare cases, swelling or irritation of the eye and vision changes can occur, and in even more rare cases, the lungs and heart can be affected.

Coexisting Diseases and Conditions

Risk Factors and Prevalence

If you have family members with AS, you are at a higher risk of having AS, too. Age, sex, and coexisting autoimmune diseases can also play a role in increasing risk. Symptoms of AS have typically been shown to develop before the age of 45 and affect males more often than females. In addition, people who have psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis may be more likely to develop the disease.

Read More

Justin’s Story: Braving the Sacrifices That Come with Chronic Illness 

Living with an autoimmune disease is difficult, even when you have a strong support system. This autoimmune story is shared from the perspective of Justin’s mother, Katrina, who has been caring for her son since his ankylosing spondylitis diagnosis. Guided by faith and a mother’s love, Katrina continues to advocate for her son. Here, she reflects on Justin’s battle with debilitating illness, his eventual diagnosis, and the many sacrifices made along the way.


  1. Article Sources
    1. Ankylosing Spondylitis: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment. (n.d.). Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center. Retrieved July 9, 2021, from

    2. Nancy Garrick, D. D. (2017, April 5). Ankylosing Spondylitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; NIAMS.

    3. Overview of Ankylosing Spondylitis. (n.d.). SAA. Retrieved July 9, 2021, from