The ASQoL scale is a self-assessment of the quality of life of a person living with ankylosing spondylitis. Healthcare professionals can use it to help assess the condition burden of an individual.

ASQoL scale stands for Ankylosing Spondylitis Quality of Life scale. It is a self-assessment that a healthcare professional scores based on the person’s response to 18 questions.

This article reviews what the ASQoL scale is, its uses, score meaning, and more.

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The ASQoL scale helps a doctor determine the condition burden on an individual. The scale consists of 18 questions that ask about different symptoms and effects on daily routine.

The person with ankylosing spondylitis answers the questions. A healthcare professional or the person themselves can then provide a score for the assessment.

Affirmative answers (“yes”) to questions receive a 1, which means a negative impact on quality of life. Negative answers (“no”) receive a 0, indicating that the listed item has no impact on quality of life. To get the total score, the person adds the numbers up.

Higher overall scores indicate a greater burden from the condition or lower quality of life for the person.

The primary use of the ASQoL scale is to help assess how ankylosing spondylitis affects a person’s quality of life. Healthcare professionals may use the score alone or in conjunction with other tests to get a broader scope of how the person is responding to treatment or to help determine if the condition is worsening.

Evidence suggests that, despite being self-reported, the ASQoL scale is a reliable assessment tool for healthcare professionals to use. In a 2022 review of 22 studies that looked at different assessment tools for quality of life, researchers found that the ASQoL scale offered reliable results for those who use it.

The ASQoL consists of 18 different questions about symptoms as well as how a person’s life is impacted.

Each question gets answered with a “Yes” or affirmative response or “No” or negative response. Each affirmative response receives a score of 1. This means that a person is currently experiencing the described issue.

Each negative score is given a score of 0. This means that a person is not currently experiencing the described issue.

A person is supposed to answer the questions based on what is currently happening, instead of what has happened in the past. This helps give an accurate assessment of how the person is currently doing.

Once complete, the scores are added up. The total score helps indicate the person’s overall quality of life. Higher scores mean lower quality of life, while lower scores represent better quality of life.

A score of 18 is the highest score and means a person is experiencing a very poor quality of life. A score of 0 is the lowest score and means that a person’s ankylosing spondylitis is not currently causing issues with quality of life.

Sample questions

Questions from the ASQoL scale ask about specific symptoms as well as how different aspects of a person’s life are affected.

Some symptom-related questions include:

  • I have unbearable pain.
  • I am tired all the time.
  • It’s impossible to sleep.
  • I sometimes feel like crying.

Questions about how ankylosing spondylitis affects daily life include:

  • My condition limits the places I can go.
  • I have difficulty dressing.
  • I have difficulty doing jobs around the house.

Ankylosing spondylitis can affect several aspects of a person’s life. Treatments can help slow the progression of the condition and help relieve symptoms. A person can also take steps that may provide additional help.

Some suggestive tips for living with ankylosing spondylitis include:

  • finding ways to reduce stress
  • quitting or avoiding smoking
  • staying active with low impact physical activity, such as exercising
  • trying to eat a healthful and balanced diet, which may include working with a dietician
  • managing sleep hygiene to help improve overall sleep quality and length
  • practicing good posture

It’s important that a person works with a healthcare professional to find a treatment plan that is the most effective for them. Sticking with treatment and letting a doctor know when symptoms get worse can help improve a person’s outcome.

The following are some questions people frequently ask about ankylosing spondylitis.

What is the quality of life in ankylosing spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis can be debilitating for some and more of a nuisance for others. In a 2019 study, over 700 people reported on how the condition affected their quality of life. The study showed a roughly even split between those who reported low, medium, and high impact on their quality of life.

Researchers also reported that the condition affects several aspects of a person’s life, including physical and mental, as well as lifestyle and employment choices.

What is the average lifespan of ankylosing spondylitis?

Life expectancy can vary based on the severity of the condition. Some evidence suggests that it can increase the risk of death due to complications, such as cardiovascular disease. However, with proper treatment, it may not affect life expectancy at all.

What makes ankylosing spondylitis worse?

Ankylosing spondylitis is a progressive disease that may cause worsening symptoms as time goes on. How severely it impacts a person’s quality of life can vary greatly, with some people only experiencing mild symptoms with limited to no progression.

Several factors could cause worsening symptoms in some people, including:

  • smoking
  • getting limited sleep
  • lack of movement or exercise
  • not responding well to or sticking with treatment

If a person notices their symptoms worsen, they should consider speaking with a healthcare professional. They can help determine what is causing the issue as well as modify treatment to help improve a person’s symptoms.

The ASQoL scale helps doctors and people living with ankylosing spondylitis report overall quality of life.

Higher scores mean a person’s quality of life is most affected, while a low score or score of 0 indicates less impact on quality of life. A doctor may use the scale as part of an assessment and to help guide treatment.

Steps a person can take to help further manage their ankylosing spondylitis may include stopping smoking, increasing movement, and eating a healthful and balanced diet.