February 4, 2023

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Celine Dion diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome: what is it?

Celine Dion diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome: what is it?

(NEXSTAR) — Celine Dion revealed to her fans Thursday that she has Stiff Person Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that affects about 1 or 2 in a million, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The disease is characterized by “fluctuations in muscle stiffness in the trunk and extremities and increased sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch, and emotional disturbance, which can lead to muscle spasms,” according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). ).

People with stiff person syndrome often have hunched over or stiffness, and may have difficulty walking or moving around. Some people may be afraid to leave the house because street noises, such as the sound of a horn, can trigger contractions and falls. NINDS explains.

Without the “normal defensive reflexes,” people with SPS often fall and can easily injure themselves.

Choking back tears, Dion said her condition is forcing her to postpone shows scheduled for spring 2023.

“I wasn’t ready to say anything before, but I’m ready now. I’ve been dealing with my health issues for a long time, and it was really hard for me to face these challenges and talk about everything I’ve been through,” said the Canadian singer before revealing her diagnosis. “We now know that this was the cause of all the cramps I was having.”

Dion said the spasms affect “every aspect” of her life, making it difficult for her to walk and even sing. She said, “I always give 100% when I do my shows, but my condition doesn’t allow me to give that to you now.”

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The syndrome occurs in women twice as often as it does in men, according to NINDS, although it occurs in very small numbers overall. The cause is not yet understood, but research suggests it may be an autoimmune problem in the brain and spinal cord.

NINDS says the rare condition is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis, among others.

It can be treated with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), muscle relaxants, and pain relievers, but there is no known cure.

“I have to admit it was a struggle,” Dion said. “All I know is that singing is what I’ve done all my life and it’s what I love to do the most.”

The singer concluded by saying that she plans to focus fully on her health and recovery, and hopes to be back on stage soon.