Today is World Sjögren's Syndrome Day. Chances are you may not have heard of this auto-immune disease even though 4 million+ Americans have been
diagnosed. There could be more people with Sjögren's but most people are often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.
What is Sjögren's Syndrome?
Sjögren's syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease in which a person’s white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands. Although the
hallmark symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, Sjögren’s may also cause dysfunction of other organs such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system,
blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system. Patients may also experience extreme fatigue and joint pain and have a higher
risk of developing lymphoma.
Nine out of 10 patients are women but men can also have it as well as children.
About half of the time Sjögren’s occurs alone, and the other half it occurs in the presence of another autoimmune connective tissue disease such as
rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma.
Sjögren’s is a systemic disease, affecting the entire body. Symptoms may remain steady, worsen, or, uncommonly, go into remission. While some
people experience mild discomfort, others suffer debilitating symptoms that greatly impair their functioning. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are
important — they may prevent serious complications and greatly improve a patient’s quality of life.
Since symptoms of Sjögren’s mimic other conditions and diseases, Sjögren’s can often be overlooked or misdiagnosed. On average, it takes nearly
4.7 years to receive a diagnosis of Sjögren’s. Patients need to remember to be pro-active in talking with their physicians and dentists about their
symptoms and potential treatment options.
Since the disease was first identified in 1933 by Dr. Henrik Sjögren, it has been proven to affect virtually every racial and ethnic group. General
awareness about Sjögren’s is still lacking and increased professional awareness is needed to help expedite new diagnoses and treatment options.
Currently there is no cure for Sjögren’s Syndrome so people have to rely on other treatments to help.
I was going to link the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation website but they ask for donations so I can't link it but you can type it into google and
check it out for yourself.
My younger sister was diagnosed at age 5 with Sjögren’s Syndrome (1999) and back then there wasn't a lot of children with Sjögren’s. I've
been keeping up on information about the disease and with all my health issues I have it looks like I may also have Sjögren’s Syndrome. I'm hoping
to convince the doctor who works with my GP to do a salivary gland biopsy because a blood test on it's own isn't always accurate.