CELINE Dion has revealed that she has been diagnosed with an extremely rare and incurable neurological condition.
The singer shared the news with fans in an emotional Instagram video, as she explained that she has been forced to cancel her upcoming European tour after receiving the news of her diagnosis.
What condition has Celine Dion been diagnosed with?
Celine Dion, 54, has been diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome – also known as SPS.
It’s a neurological disease with features of autoimmune conditions.
The exact cause of SPS is not known.
According to experts at the University College London the condition is caused by persistent spasms and affects multiple muscles – primarily the lower limbs.
Most people who develop the illness will receive a diagnosis from the ages of 40 and 60-years-old.
There is currently no cure for SPS, which can leave sufferers as ‘human statues’, sometimes unable to walk or talk.
In most cases people with SPS respond to high doses of diazepam, which is often used as anti anxiety medication.
Pain relievers will also improve the symptoms but these will not cure the disorder.
Speaking about her diagnosis, a tearful Celine explained: ”Hello everyone, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reach out to you. I miss you all so much and can’t wait to be on stage talking to you in person.
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“As you know I’ve always been an open book and I wasn’t ready to say anything before but I’m ready now.
“I’ve been dealing with problems with my health for a long time and its been really difficult for me to face my challenges and to talk about everything that I’ve been going through.
“Recently I’ve been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called the Stiff Person Syndrome which affects 1 in a million people
“While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what’s been causing all the spasms I’ve been having.”
She continued: “Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal chords to sing the way I’m used to.
“It hurts me to tell you today that this means I won’t be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February.”
The singer then went on to say that she is working with a “great team of doctors” to get better.
What are the symptoms of Stiff Person Syndrome?
Symptoms of Stiff Person Syndrome can take several months to a few years to develop.
The severity and progression of SPS can also vary from one person to another.
The first signs of the condition are intermittent spasms which then become continuous – however, experts say that spasms don’t usually occur during sleep.
Symptoms include, minor sensory stimuli – those with this symptom would notice they have become more sensitive to noise, light and touch.
Other symptoms to look out for are pain, severe spasms and impaired breathing (in advanced cases).
Many people with SPS will experience falls because they lack defensive reflexes, experts at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke added.
Affected individuals should talk to their doctor about their symptoms.