World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day – May 6, 2023

World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day is usually observed on the first Saturday of May, but it moves to the second Saturday if the first one falls on May 1. This year, it falls on May 6. You might be hearing about this disease for the first time and wondering what it is and why you haven’t heard of it before. This previously considered rare disease has gained prominence over the years and has forced initiatives to spread awareness of it. Ankylosing Spondylitis (A.S.) is a form of inflammatory arthritis that targets the back and pelvic joints, affecting more than three million people in the United States alone.

History of World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day

The cause of Ankylosing Spondylitis is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Most patients with A.S. have a specific human leukocyte antigen known as the H.L.A.-B27 antigen, which causes an autoimmune or autoinflammatory response in patients. Diagnosis of this disease. is typically based on the symptoms with support from medical imaging and blood tests. Ankylosing Spondylitis has no cure. Treatments, such as medication, exercise, physical therapy, and surgery in rare cases, may improve symptoms and prevent worsening.

Ankylosing Spondylitis has been around for a long time, as it was distinguished from Rheumatoid Arthritis by Aelius Galenus, most popularly known as Galen, a Greek physician, surgeon, and philosopher in the Roman Empire. Skeletal evidence of the disease was thought to be found in the skeletal remains of a 5,000-year-old Egyptian mummy, but a subsequent report found that it was not a case of A.S. The first account of pathologic changes to the skeleton possibly associated with the disease was published by Bernard Connor in 1691. In 1818, Benjamin Brodie became the first physician to document a person believed to have active A.S.

In 1858, David Tucker published a booklet that described the case of Leonard Trask, who suffered from severe spinal deformity due to Ankylosing Spondylitis. It became the first documented case of A.S. in the United States, owing to its indisputable description of the characteristics of the disease. Over the years, others in the medical profession gave adequate descriptions that permitted an accurate prognosis of A.S. Vladimir Bekhterev of Russia in 1893, Adolph Strümpell of Germany in 1897, and Pierre Marie of France in 1898 all gave their descriptions and now have their last names as alternative names for Ankylosing Spondylitis.

World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day timeline

2nd Century A.D.
A.S. is Distinguished from Rheumatoid Arthritis

Galen distinguishes A.S from Rheumatoid Arthritis.

1691
First Account of Pathologic Changes

The first account of pathologic changes to the skeleton possibly associated with A.S. is published by Bernard Connor.

1818
The First Active Documentation

Benjamin Brodie becomes the first physician to document a person believed to have active A.S.

1858
First Documented Case in the U.S.

David Tucker publishes a booklet that describes the case of Leonard Trask and becomes the first documented case of A.S. in the United States.

World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day FAQs

Does Ankylosing Spondylitis shorten lifespan?

No, it doesn’t. Life expectancy for people living with A.S. is the same as that of the general population, except for those who have severe forms of the disease or have complications.

What ribbon color is used for Ankylosing Spondylitis?

A blue color ribbon is used to show awareness and support for patients with A.S.

What famous person has Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Dan Reynolds, Imagine Dragons’ lead singer, was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in his early 20s.

How to Observe World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day

  1. Read up about A.S.

    Read up about Ankylosing Spondylitis. As the disease is relatively unknown, it would be good to know exactly what the disease is about and how you can help others living with it.

  2. Spread awareness about it

    Observe the day by spreading awareness about it. A simple post on social media goes a long way.

  3. Donate to a cause

    Donate to a cause for A.S. As the disease is lifelong, not many patients would be able to cope with the financing of the treatment. Donate to a cause for A.S. to help out.

5 Interesting Facts About Ankylosing Spondylitis

  1. Ankylosing spondylitis strikes at a young age

    A.S. tends to strike between the ages of 17 and 45, unlike other forms of arthritis that develop later in a person’s life.

  2. A.S. may affect your eyes

    It can cause a condition known as Uveitis, which presents as acute eye pain, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light.

  3. Men are at greater risk for A.S.

    Ankylosing spondylitis occurs twice as much in men as it does in women.

  4. A.S. can cause a hunchback appearance

    When A.S. affects the upper part of the neck, it can create significant kyphosis, which is the medical term for a hunched back.

  5. Smoking worsens Ankylosing Spondylitis

    Smoking can lead to a more severe A.S. condition.

Why World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day is Important

  1. It shines a light on the condition

    As the disease is still relatively unknown, the day helps to spread awareness about it. This helps more people who haven’t been diagnosed with the disease connect the dots and go for a test.

  2. It gives emotional support to the patients

    Living with the disease is hard enough, what’s even harder is living with it alone. The day helps to let them know that they aren’t alone in the fight.

  3. It ushers in financial support

    As more awareness is spread about the disease and its effects, more donations to the cause would be given. This helps get medical practitioners better financing to treat patients living with A.S.

World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day dates

YearDateDay
2022May 7Saturday
2023May 6Saturday
2024May 4Saturday
2025May 3Saturday
2026May 2Saturday

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