Ankylosing Spondylitis

Published Online: Wednesday, January 1, 2003

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is the medical term for arthritis of the spine. This condition typically strikes people who are between 20 and 30 years of age.

According to the results of a new 2000-person survey conducted by the Spondylitis Association of America, however, 54% of the respondents were not diagnosed with AS until 5 years after the onset of symptoms. Another 30% reported that the time lapse was more than 10 years. Many patients had to see several physicians before receiving an accurate diagnosis. Left untreated, the disease can actually cause the spine to fuse, making it nearly impossible for the patient to move his or her spine or neck. For more information, patients should be directed to

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recently surveyed 30,000 working adults about their jobs, any hand and wrist discomfort, and whether or not they had been diagnosed with arthritis. The survey found that people who worked at jobs requiring repetitive bending and twisting of the hands and wrists had a 43% increased risk of developing arthritis. A patient?s ?carpal tunnel syndrome? may thus actually be arthritis.

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