Spondyloarthritis is an umbrella term describing a family of chronic inflammatory diseases, that primarily affect the spine, sacroiliac and peripheral joints. The two most common members of this family are psoriasis-associated psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Spondyloarthritis is characterized by articular manifestations (involving the peripheral and axial skeleton, enthesitis, and dactylitis) and extra-articular (skin, gut and eye) manifestations.
In total, spondyloarthritis affects around 0.5–2% of the population and significantly impacts the quality of life. For ankylosing spondylitis, individuals with the gene HLA-B27 are more likely to develop ankylosing spondylitis, and men are also more likely to develop ankylosing spondylitis than women. There is no cure for spondyloarthritis, but several treatment options can ease symptoms, inhibit inflammation and slow disease progression.
The current diagnosis includes a physical examination, blood tests and medical history. Here, imaging techniques such as X-ray of the sacroiliac joints and a part of the pelvis are used for initial analysis, and if available a magnetic resonance image (MRI) may also be used to diagnose spondyloarthritis. Together with the imaging techniques, an HLA tissue typing is performed to detect whether HLA-B27 and c-reactive protein (CRP) are present to measure the total level of inflammation.
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