STIFF-PERSON SYNDROME

When Laura was thirty years old, she began having episodes of muscle stiffness in the trunk of her body and in her limbs. During these episodes, she would also have severe and prolonged muscle spasms in her legs. As a result, she fell several times. She also suffered from anxiety and depression.

Laura made an appointment with her primary care physician. After ordering some initial testing, the doctor referred Laura to a neurologist. Laura also saw physicians in several other fields including allergy and immunology, rheumatology, and orthopedic surgery. Three years later, she was diagnosed with Stiff-Person Syndrome.

Stiff-Person Syndrome, originally called Stiff-Man Syndrome, is a rare disease which affects only one in a million people. The syndrome affects twice as many women as men. According to the Cleveland Clinic article “Stiff-Person Syndrome/Cleveland Clinic” at https://my.cleveland clinic.org/health articles, it is characterized by “muscle stiffness in the trunk and limbs and heightened sensitivity to noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms.” Patients may have abnormal posture, such as being hunched over. Muscle spasms and muscle rigidity may cause patients to fall.

Individuals usually start experiencing symptoms between ages thirty and sixty. Because the disease is so rare, getting a diagnosis can take years. According to the Cleveland Clinic article, “One commonly used tool is a blood test to detect the presence of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) antibodies. About 60-80% of affected people have antibodies against GAD that can be detected on a blood test. Therefore, the absence of GAD antibodies does not rule out SPS, but the presence of high levels of GAD antibodies in people with symptoms of SPS strongly supports the diagnosis.”

Treatment of Stiff-Person Syndrome focuses on the specific symptoms present in each person. Doctors may prescribe benzodiazepines, diazepam, or baclofen to treat muscle stiffness and spasms. Pain medications and anti-seizure medications may also be effective for some patients. In addition, doctors may prescribe antidepressants to relieve the anxiety and depression associated with Stiff-Person Syndrome.

If you have a family member who suffers from Stiff-Person Syndrome and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission.

For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR V.S. LEUKEMIA

 

Born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr. in New York on April 16, 1947, this 12 lb. 11 oz. baby grew up to be a 7 ft. 2 in. professional basketball player.  He began his record-breaking basketball accomplishments in high school when he led Jack Donahue’s Power Memorial Academy to three straight New York City Catholic championships, a 71-game winning streak, and a 79-2 overall record.

During his college years at UCLA, he played on the freshman team in 1966 and on the varsity team from 1967 to 1969.  According to Wikipedia, “He was the main contributor to the team’s three-year record of 88 wins and only two losses:  one to the University of Houston in which Alcindor had an eye injury, and the other to crosstown rival USC who played a “stall game.”  In his first game Alcindor scored 56 points, which set a UCLA single-game record.”

During the summer of 1968, Alcindor converted to Sunni Islam.  However, he did not begin publicly using his Arabic name, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, until 1971.

In 1969, Alcindor began his professional career with the Milwaukee Bucks.  He was an instant star, ranking second in the league in scoring (28.8 ppg) and third in rebounding (14.5 rpg).  He was named NBA Rookie of the Year.  The following year, he was named NBA Most Valuable Player.  Throughout his career, he was well known for his “skyhook,” a hook shot in which he bent his entire body like a straw, raised the ball, and released it at the highest point of his arm’s arching motion.

On June 28, 1989, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar announced that he would retire at the end of the season after twenty years in the NBA.

In November of 2009, he announced that he was suffering from a form of leukemia, Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.  Abdul-Jabbar said that his condition could be managed by taking oral medication daily, seeing his specialist every other month, and having his blood analyzed regularly.

In February of 2011, Abdul-Jabbar announced via Twitter that his leukemia was gone and he was “100% cancer free.”  A few days later, he clarified his misstatement.  “You’re never really cancer-free and I should have known that.” Abdul-Jabbar said.  “My cancer right now is at an absolute minimum.”

If you have a family member who suffers from leukemia and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501.  The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).  Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including , and Kankakee.  American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission.  For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

By Karen Centowski

 

LUPUS: “THE WOLF”

Forty years ago, a teacher at a Catholic elementary school invited the faculty members and their husbands and wives to a Christmas party in her home.  It was an opportunity to socialize, to have fun together.  The women wore their long dresses, and the men wore suits.  Everyone was excited to attend.

Since these faculty members worked together every day, they were at ease with each other.  As each couple arrived, the hostess and guests greeted them.  The house was filled with chatter and laughter.

When all guests had arrived, the hostess announced that she had a surprise for them.  She had enlisted the services of a palm reader, who would tell their futures.  Each person would meet individually with the palm reader in a separate room.  The palm reader would examine the individual’s hand life lines, love lines, and give a reading.  It was simply a party game.  What could go wrong?

Everyone was having a good time until Marie came out of her meeting with the palm reader.  Marie’s face was ashen.  She walked directly to her husband and whispered something to him.  The room became unnaturally quiet.  It was as if all of the air had gone out of a balloon.

Apparently, Marie had received bad news, very bad news.  The palm reader had told Marie that she had lupus, a fatal illness.  How would a palm reader know that?  And what is lupus?

According to WebMD, “Lupus is one of many disorders of the immune system known as autoimmune diseases.  The (patient’s) immune system turns against parts of the body it is designed to protect.  This results in inflammation and damage to various body tissues.  Lupus can affect many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain.”

A National Resource Center on Lupus article at https://www.lupus.org/resources states that lupus was identified in the classical period (1230—1856).  The word lupus (Latin for “wolf”) is attributed to the thirteenth century physician Rogerius who used it to describe the erosive facial lesions which were reminiscent of a wolf’s bite.

If you have a family member who suffers from lupus and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501.  The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).  Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee.  American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission.  For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski