What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis and What Causes It?

Q:
What is ankylosing spondylitis and what causes it?

A:
Ankylosing spondylitis refers to an inflammatory disease that can cause some of the vertebrae in your spine to fuse over time. This fusing makes the spine less flexible and can result in a hunched-forward posture. If ribs are affected, it can be difficult to breathe deeply.

Ankylosing spondylitis doesn’t have known specific cause, though genetic factors seem to be involved. In particular, people who have a gene called HLA-B27 are at greatly increased risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis.

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