The aim of this study was to evaluate whether modifiable cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, e.g. atherogenic blood lipids, hypertension and lifestyle-related factors such as smoking, diet and physical inactivity, differ among patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in comparison to the general population. Eighty-eight patients diagnosed with AS were identified by analysis of the databases of a previous community intervention programme, the Västerbotten intervention programme. The patients were compared with 351 controls matched for age, sex and study period. These databases include the results of blood samples analysed for cholesterol, triglycerides and plasma glucose, as well as data on hypertension, height, weight, smoking and dietary habits and physical activity. No significant differences were found between patients and controls regarding hypertension, body mass index, physical activity, diet or smoking. Levels of serum triglycerides (p < 0.01) and cholesterol (p < 0.01) were significantly lower in the patient group. Among the patients, the level of triglycerides correlated inversely with the intake of total fat (r s = -0.25, p < 0.05), monounsaturated fats (r s = -0.29, p < 0.05) and positively correlated to the intake of carbohydrates (r s = 0.26, p < 0.05). These associations were not apparent among the controls. In the cohort of AS patients studied, no differences were found regarding the modifiable risk factors for CVD compared with the general population. Hence, the increased presence of CVD in patients with AS may be caused by other factors such as differences in metabolism and medication such as NSAID or the chronic low-grade inflammation present in the disease.