I became symptomatic when I was in the Navy and went to numerous doctors who wouldn’t take me serious. Had I been diagnosed in the MilitaryI would have been medically discharged (which is one of the reasons you can claim AS Windguy. The Navy didn’t take care of me medically like it should have and my disease progressed, aggressively for 8-9 years, causing fusion in my spine and many other issues). Anyway, it took me 5 years after the initial claim for the VA to approve a 40% rating for my AS and that was with the help of legal representation. My military medical records proved that my AS became active while serving and was never proper;y treated. My civilian medical records prove that the disease progressed for years after as well. When I put my claim in I highlighted the area that showed the VA the early symptoms with Medical reports from Medical journals to reference so they didn’t have to work as hard. What I found out through my legal representative was that they had doctors who were not qualified to rate my AS, since they were not specialists in the area, one of the doctors didn’t even know what AS was, it was ridiculous. Anyway, I would go for it. And always appeal! The VA seems to have a history of hoping people will just give up.