Ankylosing Spondylitis – an autoimmune disorder
Ankylosing Spondylitis is a rare autoimmune disorder affecting between 0.2 – 0.5 % of the general US population. It belongs to a group of diseases known as spondyloarthopathies, and although it is typically characterized by low back pain, it can also manifest as inflammation of the eyes, skin, peripheral joints, soft tissue or gastrointestinal tract.
Spondyloarthropathies and Ankylosing Spondylitis in particular are more commonly seen in men between the ages of 20 and 40, although they can affect anyone regardless of age or gender. The back pain seen in AS tends to be worse in the morning upon awakening, and generally improves with activity, or use of anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) and biologic medications which can be given as an infusion or an injection.
Diagnosing disorders like AS can prove especially challenging as there are limited blood tests and imaging studies that can effectively evaluate patients with the condition. HLA B27 testing can be helpful in identifying those patients with back pain who may be at an increased risk of developing AS, and X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help to look for joint damage associated with inflammation. Rheumatologists use a combination of blood tests, imaging studies, and your clinical history to arrive at a diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis, and once the diagnosis is established he / she will help to determine appropriate therapy.
Additional information about ankylosing spondylitis can be found HERE.
Infusion treatment medications include: