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Spondyloarthritis Fast Facts

  • SpAs are a group of diseases sharing common genetic and clinical features1
  • The condition impacts up to 2% of white populations in the EU and North America1
  • Men are 2.5 times more likely to be affected by any form of SpA than women1
  • SpA is closely related to the presence of the HLA-B27 gene2


  • · Spondyloarthritides is the plural for Spondyloarthritis - a group of inflammatory arthritic diseases sharing common clinical and genetic features1
  • · SpAs are characterized by the following:1
    • Axial SpA – involving inflammation of the spine or sacroiliac joints. This includes the most severe form - ankylosing spondylitis (AS)2
    • Peripheral SpA – characterised by peripheral arthritis, enthesitis (heel pain) and dactylitis (swelling of the finger)1


  • · SpAs affect up to 2% of white European and North American populations1
  • · Men are 2.5 times more likely to be affected by women1
  • AS is the most frequent and severe sub-type, affecting 0.3–0.5% of people2

Risk Factors

  • Carriers of the HLA-B27 gene which is present in more than 90% of AS patients2
  • Psoriatic skin lesions2
  • Colitis due to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)2


  • Inflammatory back pain lasting more than three months1
  • Morning stiffness in the spine, lasting more than 30 minutes1
  • Alternating buttock pain1
  • Arthritis2
  • Eye inflammation (uveitis)3
  • Fatigue3


Treatment of SpAs will be dependent on the type and severity of each condition. Types of treatment can include:

  • Pharmacotherapy:3
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
    • Steroids
    • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
    • Biologic drugs
  • Non-medicinal:3
    • Ice packs and heat pads to relieve joint pain and swelling
    • Use of a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machine (TENS)
    • A healthy diet
    • Exercise such as swimming to relax joints


1. Poddubnyy D. Improving diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis and spondyloarthritis in general Int. J. Clin. R heumatol. 655-667 (2011) 6(6)

2. Braun J, Sieper J. Early diagnosis of spondyloarthritis. Nature Clinical Practice Rheumatology 2006; 2:536-545

3. Arthritis Care. Spondyloarthritis Factsheet. http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCkQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.arthritiscare.org.uk%2F%403235%2FListedbytype%2FFactsheets%2Fmain_content%2FSpondyloarthritisFactsheetjune2011.pdf&ei=mk1PUJbVLYnNsgb534GYDQ&usg=AFQjCNGPcLOPVkRkRuHqlOKoO57UGwS2MA&sig2=FO5RLdySTUs__WBUr8M51g (accessed September 2012)

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