Ankylosing spondylitis (AS, from Greek ankylos, stiff; spondylos, vertebrae), previously known as Bekhterev's disease, Bekhterev syndrome, and Marie-Strümpell disease, is a chronic inflammatory disease of the axial skeleton with variable involvement of peripheral joints and nonarticular structures. AS is a form of spondyloarthritis, a chronic, inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune disease. It mainly affects joints in the spine and the sacroiliac joint in the pelvis, and can cause eventual fusion of the spine.
It is a member of the group of the spondyloarthropathies with a strong genetic predisposition. Complete fusion results in a complete rigidity of the spine, a condition known as "bamboo spine". As of 2012, no cure is known for AS, although treatments and medications are available to reduce symptoms and pain.
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