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Ankylosing Spondylitis

Let's Talk About Ankylosing Spondylitis

We’ve got the doctor-approved scoop on causes, symptoms, treatments, and a jillion other facts and tips that can make life with AS easier.

    Our Pro PanelAnkylosing Spondylitis

    We went to some of the nation’s top experts on AS to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Anca Askanase, M.D. headshot.

    Anca Askanase, M.D.Rheumatologist, Director of Rheumatology Clinical Trials

    Columbia University Medical Center
    New York City
    Howard Blumstein, M.D. headshot.

    Howard Blumstein, M.D.Rheumatologist, Clinical Professor of Medicine

    Stony Brook University
    Smithtown, NY
    Jonathan Greer, M.D. headshot.

    Jonathan Greer, M.D.Rheumatologist, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine

    University of Miami
    Palm Beach, FL

    Frequently Asked QuestionsAnkylosing Spondylitis

    Is AS curable?

    No, there is no cure for AS. It’s a chronic, lifelong disease. That said, there are a number of effective treatments and many people have mild to moderate disease that doesn’t progress any further. Bottom line: With proper treatment, you can live a long, productive, and relatively pain-free life, despite having AS.

    What is the best treatment for AS?

    The very best treatment may well be regular exercise. It can help reduce pain, stiffness, and fatigue, and improve your posture and breathing capacity, all while helping your spine and other affected joints stay flexible. Bonus: There aren’t any negative side effects—it’s all good!

    How common is AS?

    It’s more common than you might think. The Spondylitis Association of America estimates that 1 out of every 200 adults in the U.S., or 1.1 million people, has ankylosing spondylitis.

    Does diet impact AS?

    There is very little research into the role of diet in AS, but it is known that consuming a lot of sugar, unhealthy fats, and processed foods contributes to inflammation and dysbiosis—an imbalance in gut bacteria—both of which may make your symptoms worse. For that reason, most experts recommend following the anti-inflammatory Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, lean meats, fish, beans, and eggs. Sticking to a healthy diet along with exercise will also help keep your weight under control, which is important because lugging around excess poundage puts extra pressure on your already stressed joints.

    Stephanie Wood

    Stephanie Wood

    Stephanie Wood is a award-winning freelance writer and former magazine editor specializing in health, nutrition, wellness, and parenting.