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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Does being around a sibling who has ankylosing spondylitis increase my chances of developing this disease?

Q) Does being around a sibling who has ankylosing spondylitis increase my chances of developing this disease?
P Ward, via email (Summer 2013)

A) No. However, genetic factors play an important part in ankylosing spondylitis (and related diseases such as psoriatic arthritis) so you could be at an increased risk as a result. You haven’t necessarily inherited the same genes as your sibling. And in many diseases with a strong genetic basis there is not 100% expression of the disease – if you have the right (or wrong!) genes you will probably only have a 20% chance of getting the disease. It is likely that environmental factors play a part as well, and some of these you may also share with your sibling. There is so much we don’t know at the moment but we know enough to be able to give you at least a semblance of an answer to your question.

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