Celine Dion – fighting back tears today – revealed she has a one in a million incurable neurological disorder.

The 54-year-old singer has been diagnosed with stiff person syndrome, which causes frightening and often violent muscle spasms.

Its true cause is unknown, but researchers suspect it is the result of an autoimmune response where the body attacks nerve cells in the central nervous system.

The result is extreme muscle stiffness that severely affects mobility, sometimes requiring a walker or wheelchair. The condition may also cause spasms that generate enough force to fracture the bone.

Sufferers often have increased sensitivity to noises, sudden movements, and emotional distress—meaning that something as simple as a knock on the door can lock patients inside their bodies.

Celine told fans in an emotional Instagram video that she would have to cancel her upcoming European tour in February – but added that she has a huge team of doctors with her as well as her children.

Here’s everything we know about the extremely rare condition:

Celine Dion revealed TODAY that she suffers from Stiff Person Syndrome, one in a million

What is Stiff Person Syndrome?

Stiff person syndrome is an extremely rare disorder that causes the muscles of the torso and limbs to alternate between spasms and stiffness.

It has been termed as ‘human statue disease’. The spasms it causes can be so severe that they dislocate joints and break bones.

Estimates suggest that it affects around 70 people in the UK and just 330 in the US. It affects almost twice as many women as men.

The disease becomes more severe over time and can paralyze patients, requiring them to use a walker or a wheelchair.

There are three types of syndrome:

  • classical man syndrome: When there is stiffness and cramping around the back and abdomen, and sometimes in the thighs and neck. This can cause curvature over time.
  • Stiff limb syndrome: Cramps particularly affect the legs and feet, sometimes causing them to become immobile in place. The hands may also be affected.
  • Jerking Stiff Person Syndrome: The rarest, most aggressive form, includes symptoms of both, and also affects the head and eyes.

what causes it?

Experts don’t know exactly what’s behind the disease.

But they believe it may be caused by an autoimmune response, when the body attacks its own nerve cells that control muscle movement.

About 40 percent of sufferers also have type 1 diabetes, another autoimmune disease. Type 1 diabetes is particularly associated with the classical person syndrome.

Other autoimmune conditions such as vitiligo, which causes white patches of skin, and pernicious anemia are similarly associated with it.

The condition is also more common in people with breast, lung, kidney, thyroid or colon cancer, as well as lymphoma, but researchers don’t yet know why.

In stiff person syndrome, the immune system attacks a protein that helps make gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which controls motor neurons – the nerves that control movement.

Low levels of GABA cause neurons to fire continuously when they are not supposed to, resulting in spasms and stiffness.

What are its symptoms?

The main symptoms caused by stiff person syndrome are spasms and stiffness of the torso and limbs.

Loud noises can trigger spasms, with this condition also causing increased sensitivity to sound.

Touch and emotional distress may also be felt more intensely as a result of the condition.

Spasms can be so severe that they cause people to fall or have difficulty walking and other disabilities.

Stress and anxiety are also commonly high in people with this condition, especially because of the unpredictability of the spasms.

The lack of GABA – which regulates anxiety – in their systems also affects mental health.

How is it diagnosed?

Because of its rarity and puzzling symptoms, which are often mistaken for Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis (MS), the syndrome can take a long time to diagnose.

But if doctors suspect stiff person syndrome, they can confirm it with two tests.

The first looks for antibodies to a protein called glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) in the blood.

High levels of GAD antibodies may indicate stiff man syndrome, although levels are also elevated in people with type 1 diabetes.

The second test is an electromyogram (EMG), which assesses muscle and motor neuron health.

Doctors insert needles directly into the affected muscles and record electrical activity in them.

Is there a cure?

No, unfortunately doctors are unable to reverse or cure the lifelong condition.

However, in most patients, treatment can be given to help control the symptoms.

Medications including diazepam and baclofen — which both control spasms — can help control episodes and reduce stiffness.

Some patients with more severe symptoms are also given treatments to manipulate their immune systems with the aim of increasing GABA levels.

In some cases an immunoglobin transfusion may be given to affect the level of antibodies in the blood.

Medications such as sedatives and steroids may also be prescribed.

Meanwhile, patients are often prescribed physical and aqua therapy to improve how well their muscles work.

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