Van Nuys, CA (PRWEB) March 11, 2011
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a crippling form of arthritis that generally strikes young people in their teens and twenties, sometimes even earlier. Left untreated, it causes pain, disability and can eventually cause the spinal vertebrae to fuse together forming one brittle bone, often in a stooped over position.
There is no cure for AS. But there are effective treatments that can greatly improve quality of life and increase the chances of a positive outcome. The key to obtaining these treatments is early diagnosis.
The Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) has developed a validated online questionnaire (http://www.BackPainTest.org) that will help evaluate a person's likelihood of having AS, so that they may seek a diagnosis and pursue appropriate, life-changing treatment. "Early diagnosis is important, so you can get the patient on a treatment regimen and control the symptoms…and alter the progress of the disease," said Dr. John Reveille, director of the division of rheumatology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and a leading researcher in the field.
ABCNews.com also interviewed SAA member Steve Haskew and his daughter Kate. Both are affected by ankylosing spondylitis but face far different prognoses because Steve remained undiagnosed for years while Kate was diagnosed quickly and was able to begin life altering treatment before the disease progressed. The article can be found here: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/bamboo-spine-ankylosing-spondylitis-hits-prime-life-affecting/story?id=13080195&page=1
To date, more than 10,000 people with chronic low back pain have taken the test at http://www.BackPainTest.org and downloaded information to help them seek definitive diagnosis.
About Ankylosing Spondylitis
Spondylitis is the term used to refer to a group of chronic, inflammatory diseases that generally strike young people between the ages of 17 and 35. Typically, spondylitis causes pain and stiffness and, in the most severe cases, can result in a total fusion of the spine and/or neck, leading to disability. Although spondylitis primarily affects the spine, it can also affect the joints of the shoulders, hips, knees and feet, as well as cause inflammation of the eye. More rarely, because AS is a systemic (whole body) condition, other organs such as the heart and lungs can also become involved.
About the Spondylitis Association of America
The Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) is the only nonprofit organization in the US dedicating all of its resources to improving the lives of people with ankylosing spondylitis and related diseases. Established in 1983, SAA is committed to increasing awareness of spondylitis, providing information and support to patients and their families, and ultimately, working to uncover a cure for the disease.
SAA produces the most comprehensive library of spondylitis resources available in the US -- including books, DVDs, CDs, brochures and other publications; an 800-page interactive website; a quarterly, advertising-free news magazine, and a network of nationwide Educational Support Groups to educate and support people living with this chronic illness.
At the forefront of every major milestone achieved in spondylitis education, research and advocacy, you will find the Spondylitis Association of America.
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