AS can have a tremendous impact on your life - physically, socially, and emotionally. The pain and stiffness can make moving difficult and interfere with your daily activities. The effect AS has on quality of life varies from person to person and throughout a person's lifetime.

People with AS may take extended or repeated periods of time off work because of physical disability, pain, and fatigue. Some people may leave the workforce altogether. People with AS may also experience self-esteem issues, depression, and anxiety disorders.

People who are being treated for AS can continue to experience symptoms and progression of the disease. Without early diagnosis and proper treatment, physical disability or deformity (e.g., fusing together of the joints) can occur. Sometimes, the change is not so obvious until X-rays are taken.

These radiographic images (or X-rays) show the disease progression that people with AS may not show any symptoms of. You can talk to your doctor about getting radiograph tests to gain an understanding of how your AS is progressing. Radiograph tests give your doctor a picture of how AS is affecting your joints, bones, and nearby tissues over time (also called radiographic progression).

Early and appropriate treatment can reduce pain and maintain mobility and function of the joints, maximizing your ability to lead a full life. If you are already being treated for AS but you continue to experience symptoms, talk to your doctor so that you can work on an effective treatment plan.