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Stiff Man Syndrome: all about the disease that struck Celine Dion

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Stiff man syndrome is a rare disease that can be particularly disabling: early diagnosis is essential.

Stiff person syndrome, a disease recently mentioned by the artist Celine Dion who was affected by it, was first identified around the 1950s. To date it is still little known, at least in terms of the triggering causes, but the treatment, especially in the face of an early diagnosis, guarantees a good quality of life.

Stiff man syndrome: causes and symptoms

Stiff man or stiff person syndrome is a rare, particularly disabling disease that affects the central nervous system and has neuromuscular repercussions. It mainly affects women after the age of 45, with symptoms that get worse over time. It was described for the first time around the 1950s and the causes are still unknown today. However, stiff person syndrome is frequently associated with other autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes, thyroiditis, vitiligo , and pernicious anemia.

Three forms of the disease are distinguished: autoimmune, paraneoplastic and idiopathic. Generally, the first variant is related to autoimmune disorders and affects inhibitory neurons originating in the anterior horn of the spinal cord. The paraneoplastic type, on the other hand, is associated with cancer of the breast, lung, kidney, thyroid or Hodgkin's lymphoma . Symptoms are common to all three variants: muscle stiffness, difficulty bending and turning, increased lumbar lordosis, joint deformities, abnormal posture, painful muscle spasms and exaggerated reactions to unexpected tactile, visual or acoustic stimuli. As a result, those with stiff man syndrome have difficulty walking and are at risk of falling.

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Stiff person syndrome: treatment

The internationally renowned singer Celine Dion recently spoke of the stiff man syndrome , who had to cancel several concerts due to the worsening of the disease. The symptoms of this pathology, in fact, can worsen from one day to the next. Generally, the treatment involves the use of muscle relaxant drugs useful for blocking muscle stiffness or immunotherapy, aimed at reducing the autoantibodies responsible for the syndrome.

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