Diagnostic Tests For Ankylosing Spondylitis


By Dr Gaur



Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that causes the vertebrae in your spine to fuse together. This fusing results in the spine less becoming less flexible in addition to impacting your posture to a position that is hunched forward. In extreme cases where the ribs are affected it will be difficult to breathe deeply. This disorder affects men more often than women. Normally the signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis begin early in the adulthood. Inflammation also can occur in other parts of your body especially in the eyes. In order to correctly diagnose this problem, the following tests will be undertaken.

Physical Exam

Through a physical exam, various factors are taken into consideration when diagnosing ankylosing spondylitis. They include the following:

  • Onset of the disorder, especially if the individual is under 45 years of age.
  • Persistence of pain for more than 3 months
  • If the back pain and stiffness worsen with added factors of immobility, during night and early morning.
  • If the back pain and stiffness tend to ease with physical activity and exercise.
  • Positive response to medication or drugs

Normally a physical examine will be undertaken by the spine specialists to look for inflammation. The areas of the back, pelvic bones, sacroiliac joints, chest and heels are normally checked for any signs of inflammation. The limitation of the spinal mobility in all directions will also be checked along with restrictions of the chest expansions.

The symptoms of AS along with scans

Sacroiliitis which is the inflammation of the sacroiliac joints is a disorder that is associated with ankylosing spondylitis. Scans like X-rays and MRI are used to detect any abnormal changes in this joint. You must understand that these scans will only show the abnormal changes of the joints, but it does not indicate a direct result of this disorder

Blood Work and testing for HLA-B27 positive

There is no single blood work test that will indicate a positive result for this disorder. However a combination of selected tests, depending on the physical features of the affected individual will indicate the existence of ankylosing spondylitis. In addition to this, there is also the indication og family history and the passing of a selected gene. The HLA-B27 is a gene that is found in found mostly in the Caucasian population, but also in other ethnic and racial groups. Normally the individual who is born with this gene will have a higher chance of getting spondylitis. Getting a HLA-B27 positive test will not prove that you suffer from this disorder, but merely ensure that you have a high risk of getting it. Apart from testing HLA-B27 positive, the individual may also test for erythrocyte sedimentation rate also known as SED rate. This normally indicates the existence of inflammation which can lead to this spondylitis.



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