Objectives To investigate whether ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in women comprises a different clinical group compared to men.
Methods Seventy-eight patients with AS were diagnosed and followed up since 1981. We reevaluated all these patients by entering the demographic, clinical, laboratory, radiological and therapeutic disease characteristics in the database.
Results Seventy patients were identified as AS. Eight were excluded. Six developed psoriasis during follow up, one had Forestier?s disease and one developed Paget?s disease of bone. Sixty-one were men and 9 women. There were no differences between men and women concerning the age at disease onset. However, an infection had proceeded the diagnosis of AS in women (p < 0.01). Axial and peripheral arthritis were similar between the two groups, although the elbows were more frequently involved in women (p < 0.05). Concerning systemic manifestations, no differences were found between the two groups. Finally, female patients had higher values of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) (47.5 [21.6]) compared to men (31.1 [23.0]) (p < 0.05) and presented more frequently with anaemia of chronic disease (ACD) (p < 0.01).
Conclusion AS in women is a rare condition (1:8). It seems that it is not a mild disease. The clinical picture is almost similar to men, but expresses high values of ESR and ACD.
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