Stiff-Person Syndrome - Diagnosis

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How is Stiff-Person syndrome diagnosed?

The disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, psychosomatic illness, or anxiety and phobia. A definitive diagnosis can be made with a blood test that measures the level of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) antibodies in the blood. People with Stiff-Person syndrome have elevated levels of GAD, an antibody that works against an enzyme involved in the synthesis of an important neurotransmitter in the brain.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: DALK, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 11

I went to the emergency room for sharp eye pain and headache. They admitted me and did testing. While there, I developed stroke like paralysis on the left side. They put me in rehabilitation for two weeks. I still have weakness on the left side. Four years ago I quit swallowing, and I have stiffness in my limbs and hands, and feet spasms and shakes. I have double vision, they say it is the nerves, and autoimmune problem. I have periods when I'm not able to move my feet. I have low blood pressure due to the muscles being too weak. I went to neurologist and he said I had Stiff-Person syndrome and put me on baclofen and Topamax; and left me hanging.

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Comment from: Lynjay, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 28

After 3 years of painful muscle spasms, I saw 3 neurologists, an internist and of course family doctor. I did all nerve tests and EMG and all were negative. The last neurologist then said I have Stiff-Person syndrome, even though I don't have all the symptoms. He ordered the anti-GAD65 test, also negative, but he insists this is what it is. My only symptoms are very painful spasms, and sore back.

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