This case highlights a rare but devastating neurologic condition, Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS). While symptoms of muscular rigidity andspasms areassocia ted with numerous neuromuscular conditions, the association between SPS, autoimmune diabetes, and other autoimmune disorders such as thyroiditis, pernicious anemia, and vitiligo, could aid in the early diagnosis of this debilitating condition.
A 47-year-old African American female presented with six months of progressively worsening rigidity and spasticity of her axial muscles and extremities. The patient was in good health until one and a half years prior to admission when she lost consciousness while driving and was subsequently diagnosed with epilepsy. Her daughter was a passenger in the car and suffered a brief coma. Over the next year, the patient started having anxiety with increasingly more frequent and severe panic attacks. Six months prior to admission, she developed muscle stiffness and painful spasms that were so severe, she had difficulty ambulating and eventually became bed-bound. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the brain and spine did not reveal any pathology. Additionally, during the past year she was diagnosed with diabetes, which was unusual given her thin body habitus (Body-Mass Index of 20.9).
Valentino, MD, PhD, Michael A.
"A 47-Year Old Female with Muscular Rigidity, New-Onset Diabetes and Hypothyroidism,"
The Medicine Forum:
Vol. 14, Article 15.
Available at: http://jdc.jefferson.edu/tmf/vol14/iss1/15