3. Joints aren’t the only body parts affected by ankylosing spondylitis. “Besides the joints, manifestations of ankylosing spondylitis may include the eyes — with uveitis, which presents as acute eye pain, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light,” says Elyse Rubenstein, MD, a rheumatologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. It can also affect the cardiovascular system and is associated with aortic regurgitation, she says, in which blood in the heart flows in the reverse direction. Also, the pulmonary system can be at risk for developing lung abnormalities.
4. Men are at greater risk for ankylosing spondylitis. The condition occurs 2 times as often in men than it does in women, according to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center. Other risk factors include having the HLA-B27 genetic marker (a gene found in 90 to 95 percent of people with ankylosing spondylitis), having a family history of AS, and experiencing frequent gastrointestinal infections.