Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), sometimes called Marie-Strumpell disease is an inflammatory rheumatic disease. The condition mainly hits the lower spine but can also affect the hips, shoulders, knees, chest and other areas of the body as well. AS affects up to 0.1 percent of the world's population, and men develop the condition three times more often than women. While individuals all over the globe are diagnosed with AS, the disease is more prevalent in Caucasian males. There is no specific cure for the disease, but treatment may prevent the progression of AS.
Symptoms Associated With Ankylosing Spondylitis
Typically, the spine is the central area affected by AS. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital report up to twenty-five percent of cases involve peripheral joints including the shoulders, knees, and the hips. Severe symptoms may cause debilitating pain and bone fusion. Kyphosis, a rigid and curved spine may also develop without proper treatment. Uveitis, or inflammation of the eye, has also been reported in twenty-five percent of the population diagnosed with AS and is often seen as a precursor several years before the onset of the disease. Patients with uveitis report pain, light sensitivity, and excessive tears. Up to ten percent of those coping with AS will develop spondylitic heart disease, which includes aortic insufficiency.