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First of all, spondyloarthropathies are part of a larger symptom complex. Notably, this affects the spine and the insertion of tendons and ligaments. In like manner they are distinct from rheumatoid arthritis, and also apart from ankylosing spondylitis. In addition, they include also Reiter’s syndrome, psoriatic arthritis, and enteropathic arthritis (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease).

Moreover, certain families have a clustering of cases with genetically changed cell surface antigens. In fact, the terms for them are “HLA-B27” and “HLA-B7” (Ref. 2). They can be found on white blood cells in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. Also, males suffer from spondyloarthropathies about 2 1/2 times more frequently than females. Certainly, as a matter of fact, chronic back pain is more common in males than in females with ankylosing spondylitis (Ref. 1, chapter 12). To emphasize, it begins often in the age group of 20 to 40.

As an illustration, here is the frequency of some of the various types of spondyloarthropathies in the population (This is a modification from Ref. 1, p.48).

Frequency of cases of spondyloarthropathies
Name of disease: No. of cases per 100,000 people
Ankylosing spondylitis 150
Psoriatic arthritis 60
Reactive arthritis and Reiter’s syndrome 15
Ulcerative colitis (enteroarthropathy) 75
Crohns disease (enteroarthropathy) 50


1.The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse  Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 51.

2. Goldman: Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 21st ed.(©2000)W.B.Saunders

3. ABC of rheumatology, second edition, edited by Michael L. Snaith,M.D., BMJ Books, 1999.

4. Ferri: Ferri’s Clinical Advisor: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment, 2004 ed., Copyright © 2004 Mosby, Inc.

5. Rakel: Conn’s Current Therapy 2004, 56th ed., Copyright © 2004 Elsevier

Last modified: July 5, 2021

This outline is only a teaching aid to patients and should stimulate you to ask the right questions when seeing your doctor. However, the responsibility of treatment stays in the hands of your doctor and you.