This AS Life: AS and This AS Life.

Whether it’s you or someone you know who has AS, This AS Life is here to support you with expert advice and support.

What is AS?

Ankylosing spondylitis (often shortened to AS), is a type of spondyloarthritis that mainly affects the spine and hips.1 Similar to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the main symptom is stiffening and immobility due to joint damage. 2,3 However, while RA results in destruction of the joint, AS is characterized by excess bone growth affected areas – ankylosis – leading to severe pain and fatigue.1

In some patients, AS causes additional problems in the feet (peripheral arthritis), the Achilles tendon (enthesitis) and the eyes (uveitis) as well as triggering painsomnia, the insomnia due to nighttime pains caused by AS.1-3

These symptoms can make life extremely hard for people with AS, putting a strain on social and personal relationships which can result in depression and loneliness.Their condition can also affect building blocks of daily life such as diet, work, exercise and even their ability to be an active parent.4

Through This AS Life, we want to help the global AS community learn, share, inspire and discuss, all to find new ways of managing their condition.

What is This AS Life?

This AS Life is a website dedicated to ankylosing spondylitis patients. Set up to help those living with this chronic illness, we facilitate the sharing of personal stories, tips and articles – so you can discover new ways to live boldly.

What's the purpose?

Everything you see on This AS Life starts and ends with AS patients, so we hope this will be a valuable tool for years to come in our mission to learn more and tackle AS head on, together.

Novartis is committed to rheumatology with a focus on increasing awareness and investing in vital research.

Novartis is dedicated to improving the lives of patients with ankylosing spondylitis all over the world, by facilitating the sharing of information between them.


Ankylosing spondylitis: Common FAQs

What is ankylosing spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis or AS is a long-term condition that mainly affects the axial skeleton (the bones of the spine, lower back and rib cage).1

The condition typically causes inflammation in the lower spine and the sacroiliac joints (where the base of the spine meets the pelvis) known as ‘spondylitis’.1

‘Ankylosis’ is a medical term to define the formation of new bone.5 In untreated AS, ankylosis takes place in the spine and sacroiliatic joints, making the joints in that area stiffer and less flexible.1

Who does it affect?

AS is more common in men than women, with up to a 1.6:1 ratio.6 It tends to develop when people are in their 20s.7

What do I do if I think I have AS?

The first step is to talk to your doctor. There are a number of articles of This AS Life to help you spot the early warning signs of AS , show you how to get the most out of your conversations with your doctor and tell you what to expect after your diagnosis.

As a first step, why not try our simple at-home tests for uncovering AS? Remember to always consult your physician to ensure proper interpretation.

How do I get diagnosed with AS?

The journey to AS diagnosis can be a long one but it’s worth persisting. Be confident in your relationship with your physician and maintain honesty at all times to get the diagnosis, treatment and results you need.

Is it inherited?

No-one is yet 100% sure how AS develops, but genes are definitely thought to play a part. AS is associated with several genes (most prominently HLA-B27) that are passed down through families.8 In one study, these genes are thought to contribute between 20–50% of the genetic risk of developing AS.9 The likelihood of your child developing AS if they inherit the HLA-B27 gene from you is approximately 20%.10,11


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1. Lories RJ, Baeten DL. Clin Exp Rheumatol 2009; 27:S10–4.

2. Schneeberger EE et al. Clin Rheumatol 2015; 34:497–501.

3. Li et al. Arthritis Res Ther 2012; 15:R215.

4. Bandwatch social listening report 28.10.15 – data on file.

5. Haroon N. Clin Rheumatol 2015; 34:1003–1007.

6. Exarchou S et al. Arth Res Therapy 2015; 17:118.

7. Feldtkeller E et al. Rheumatol Int 2003; 23:61–66.

8. Sheehan NJ. Rheumatology (Oxford) 2010; 49:621–631.

9. Brown MA et al. Hum Mol Genet 2000; 9:1563–1566.

10 US National Library of Medicine. Ankylosing Spondylitis. Available at: (Accessed September 2017).

11. NHS Choices. Ankylosing Spondylitis. Available at: (Accessed September 2017).

Find Support

Take on AS with an army behind you. Patient support groups can be there to celebrate with you in the ups and pick you up in the downs. They’re also great places to get practical advice about living with AS.

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