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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. He or she will examine you and may take X-rays or other imaging tests, such as a computed tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, to look for problems in your sacroiliac joints or any other joints that are painful or stiff. Your doctor also may order a blood test to look for a gene called HLA-B27. This gene is found more commonly in people with ankylosing spondylitis than in other people. However, having the HLA-B27 gene does not mean you have or will develop ankylosing spondylitis. Your doctor will diagnose the condition based on a combination of symptoms, physical examination, blood tests and imaging tests.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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