Spondyloarthritis is a group of diseases that cause inflammation of the spine, joints, tendons, ligaments and surrounding areas. These conditions also can affect the eyes, gut, urinary tract, skin and sometimes the heart and lungs. In some cases, these diseases are genetic and associated with the gene HLA-B27. They can affect every ethnic group, although they are less common in African Americans who have a lower frequency of HLA-B27. Spondyloarthritis may occur in as many as 13 percent of people with HLA-B27.
At the Rheumatology Clinic, experts diagnose and treat patients with spondyloarthritis. Although symptoms vary depending on the type of the disease, they commonly include low back pain, family history of the disease, morning stiffness, symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, joint pain and swelling, a chronic scaly skin rash called psoriasis and tendon inflammation. Treatment depends on the type of spondyloarthropathy and may include drug therapy, exercise and joint protection.