A condition known as Stiff-person syndrome can be a rare neurological disorder that takes many years to identify and customize treatment.
The singer Celine Dion revealed on her Instagram video on Thursday that she was canceling specific performances due to her diagnosis of this disease.
“While we’re still studying this condition that is extremely rare We now know that it’s the reason behind the spasms I’ve been experiencing,” Celine Dion said.
What is a stiff-person syndrome?
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, spasms define stiff person syndrome and muscle stiffness, heightened sensitivity to triggers like light and sound, and emotional stress that can trigger muscles to spasm.
“It often is caused by muscle spasms, which can be very extreme. They can lead to accidents, extreme pain, and even significant disability,” explained the Dr. Emile Sami Moukheiber of the Stiff Person Syndrome Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Falls caused by severe spasms can be extremely frequent. The spasms may be triggered by a sudden shock, intense emotions, cold weather, or even a cold.”
The spasms could be powerful enough to break a bone, and any fall could cause serious injury.
Celine Dion stated she was in tears when her videos showed that spasms can affect “every part” of her routine, “sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and preventing me to utilize my vocal cords to sing in the way I’m used to.”
The symptoms of the syndrome can create anxiety.
“Many patients but not all are suffering from anxiety that is inherent to the condition, and that anxiety can contribute to the physical issues associated with the disease that patients may suffer from,” Dr. Scott Newsome, Director of the Stiff Person Syndrome Center stated in a video posted on the website of the organization.
What are the people who suffer from stiff-person syndrome?
The condition affects around one in a million people. The majority of general neurologists will encounter just one or two cases during their lifetime, Moukheiber said.
According to Newsome, the first instance of stiff person syndrome was first reported in the 1950s. The disease was previously referred to in the 1950s as “stiff man’s disease.”
Since then, it’s been discovered that it affects more females than males, and the designation was changed to stiff-person syndrome to prevent confusion.
What is the cause of stiff person syndrome?
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, it is believed to be a manifestation of an autoimmune condition.
While the cause of this isn’t known, according to this institute, “people suffering from the condition have an elevated level of GAD, an antibody that can fight an enzyme that is involved in the production of a neurotransmitter that is important to the brain.”
Due to the rare nature of the condition and the lack of clarity of its symptoms, they are more likely to seek medical attention for chronic pain before receiving neurological treatment. Newsome says it takes seven years to be diagnosed with stiff person syndrome.
“Sometimes patients get considered insane,” he said, “because when they take their exam in the beginning there’s not the typical symptoms of stiff-person syndrome.”
What is the best way to treat stiff-person syndrome? Managed?
There isn’t a cure for the stiff-person syndrome, but medication can help alleviate the symptoms. Immunoglobulin medicines can lower the sensitivity to sound or light triggers, possibly helping to prevent spasms or falls.
Anxiety relievers, pain relief medications, and muscle relaxers are an element of treatment for this disorder. Stiff Person Syndrome Center Stiff, Person Syndrome Treatment Center, offers botulinum toxin injections.
“If not treated the condition could cause extreme impairment to daily living,” Moukheiber said.
With treatment, symptoms are controlled. Celine Dion said she’s been struggling with her condition for some time and has a fantastic staff of health professionals and her children’s help.
“I’m doing my best with my therapist for sports medicine each day to restore my strength and capacity to perform at a higher level,” she said. “But I’ll admit that it’s been hard.”
For a performer like Celine Dion, loud sounds and bright lights can trigger muscle spasms.
“This is a difficult disease that could cause her to suffer when it isn’t promptly and in a timely manner,” Moukheiber said.