World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day Date in the current year: May 4, 2024

World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day, also known as World AS Day or WAS Day, is typically observed on the first Saturday of May, but it moves to the next Saturday if the first one falls on May 1. It was created to raise awareness of a form of arthritis that usually affects the joints where the spine meets the pelvis.

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is the best-known type of axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), a chronic, autoinflammatory disease that primarily affects the sacroiliac joint of the pelvis and the spine. However, other parts and systems of the body may also be affected because AS is a systemic disease. It affects millions of people around the globe (more than 3 million people live with AS in the United States alone), but doesn’t receive as much attention as it should.

While most types of arthritis usually develop later in life, the early signs and symptoms of AS typically appear between 20 and 30 years of age. Initial symptoms of the disease include stiffness of the lower back and dull pain in the lower back or glutes that comes and goes. As AS progresses, a person may also experience other symptoms such as constant back pain, fatigue, trouble taking a deep breath, stomach pain, loss of appetite or weight loss, and arthritis in other joints. The disease may also affect the eyes, lungs, and cardiovascular system. Over the long term, AS may result in the fusion of the spine, osteoporosis, and other complications.

The cause of AS is unknown, but the disease is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Most people with AS are positive for HLA (human leukocyte antigen) 27, although the exact relationship between HLA-B27 and associated inflammatory diseases is unclear.

There is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis, but various treatments can be use to reduce pain and other symptoms. They include anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation and pain, medications to slow the progression of the disease (steroids, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, etc.), and physical therapy. In severe cases, joint replacement surgery can be an option.

World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day was initiated by the Axial Spondyloarthritis International Federation (ASIF), an international organization that represents axial spondyloarthritis patient associations around the globe. Its main goal is raise awareness of the disease among the general public and support people living with ankylosing spondylitis and other diseases from the axial spondyloarthritis family.

There are many ways to observe World AS Day. You can learn more about the physical, mental and emotional impact of ankylosing spondylitis and other forms axial spondyloarthritis on people’s lives, participate in various digital events hosted by ASIF and patient organizations across the globe or even host an event of your own, share information about the disease, donate to a nonprofit that helps AS patients or funds AS research, wear a blue awareness ribbon to show your support for World AS Day, and spread awareness on social media using the hashtags #WorldAnkylosingSpondylitisDay and #WorldASDay.

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World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day, World AS Day, international observances, awareness days, axial spondyloarthritis