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Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a crippling form of arthritis that generally attacks 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.
Ankylosing spondylitis is considered the most overlooked cause of persistent back pain in young adults yet it is often dismissed as "growing pains" or as "overdoing it". Because of this, the average delay from onset of symptoms to definitive diagnosis is 7 to 10 years, years in which the damage is progressing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that AS and its related diseases affect as many as 2.4 million people in the US, and many do not even know it.
The Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) has developed a validated online questionnaire that will help evaluate a person's likelihood of having AS, so that they may seek a diagnosis and pursue appropriate, life-changing treatment. SAA is also releasing a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) in an effort to raise awareness about the disease and the availability of the online tool.
In this PSA, 20 year-old Tyler Walker, whose AS symptoms began at age 9, describes some of the early warning signs and symptoms of AS. At the end of the PSA, he invites people who are experiencing persistent low back pain to visit www.BackPainTest.org to fill out a brief survey that will assess their symptoms and recommend next steps.
For more information, people can also call SAA's toll-free information line at 800-777-8189.
VIDEO PROVIDED BY: The Spondylitis Association of America
FOR TECHNICAL INFORMATION OR HARD COPY, PLEASE CALL:
MultiVu Media Relations, 800-653-5313 EXT. 3
/PRNewswire -- July 15/
SOURCE The Spondylitis Association of America
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