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Ankylosing Spondylitis

Diagnosis & Expected Duration

Monday, Aug. 27, 2007; 7:44 PM

Copyright Harvard Health Publications 2007


Table of Contents

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms. He or she will examine you and may take X-rays or other imaging tests, such as a computed tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, to look for problems in your sacroiliac joints or any other joints that are painful or stiff. Your doctor also may order a blood test to look for a gene called HLA-B27. This gene is found more commonly in people with ankylosing spondylitis than in other people. However, having the HLA-B27 gene does not mean you have or will develop ankylosing spondylitis. Your doctor will diagnose the condition based on a combination of the symptoms, physical examination, blood tests and imaging tests.

Expected Duration

In most cases, ankylosing spondylitis is mild, and may go undiagnosed for years. However, it is a lifelong problem.

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