Undifferentiated Spondyloarthropathy (USpA) is a term used to describe symptoms and signs of spondylitis in someone who does not meet the criteria for a definitive diagnosis of AS or related disease. Sometimes a doctor may make an initial diagnosis of ‘Spondyloarthropathy’ or ‘Unclassified Spondyloarthropathy’ if certain symptoms are present but are not enough to make a specific diagnosis. Over time, some people with USpA will develop a well-defined form of spondylitis such as ankylosing spondylitis.
Some doctors consider USpA a ‘cousin’ to ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, spondylitis associated with inflammatory bowel/Crohn’s disease, and reactive arthritis, all of which are certainly more familiar to physicians and consequently are most frequently diagnosed.
Many people with USpA have been told over the years that they are simply ‘anxious and depressed’ or received a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder associated with widespread muscle and soft tissue pain. Thus, considering it is often overlooked makes it even more essential to do research for yourself and stay informed.
Is There a Cure?
Currently, there is no known cure for USpA, but there are treatments and medications available to reduce symptoms and manage the pain.
Patients with USpA generally have a good prognosis, but over time, some may develop AS or related disease depending on the individual. Some experts believe that those who test positive for the HLA-B27 genetic marker are more likely to develop full-blown AS after initially being diagnosed with undifferentiated spondyloarthopathy.
A minority of people with USpA will have mild and intermittent symptoms requiring only symptomatic therapy, but many will have chronic, yet not severe, symptoms requiring regular treatment and medication.