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Ankylosing spondylitis is a complex chronic disease that causes inflammation in the spine and other areas of the body. Symptoms of the condition develop gradually over months or years. Some individuals can eventually get better, while others find their condition deteriorates. Although patients are at risk of long-term disability, this can usually be prevented with exercise, physiotherapy and medication.
In around 70 to 90% of cases, independence is maintained and people only develop minimal disability. However, in some individuals, damage caused by inflammation in the spine and joints eventually causes severe disability and immobility.
Some examples of the complications associated with this disease are described below.