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: kobesmom, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 31

I've had Stiff-Person syndrome for over 10 years. In the past, I've fallen more times than I can count. Thankfully, that doesn't happen as often anymore. I credit IVIG with giving me back my life. On a good day, I walk with a cane. On a bad day, I use a mobility scooter. Thankfully, I have more good days than bad. I also take Lyrica, Zanaflex and baclofen to help control the spasms. My joints have swelled, I've put on over 140 pounds because of inactivity. At times I don't want to leave the house especially if it is too cold (really nasty spasms) or icy (I'm afraid I'll fall). I'm grateful for smart doctors who were willing to fight for me.

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Comment from: papaallen, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 07

I went the route calling my stiff-person syndrome everything else. Finally they did a special EMG test that showed stiff-person way of misfiring, so quick movements are difficult. Plasma exchange tube blocked so I ended up in ICU for five days. Now I have a baclofen pump in and they are increasing by 10 percent and at 451 at present. I am still falling, still in spams but most do not see real results till they are up to about 1500 range as everyone is different. My hands, legs and the rest of me are affected. But I am also reminded of a poem - I once felt bad for I had no shoes till I met a man who had no feet. No matter how bad we think we have it someone has it worse.

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