All the Information You Need to Know About Sjögren’s Syndrome

elder woman rubbing eyes

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  • Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder wherein the body mistakenly attacks your moisture glands, particularly those that produce saliva and tears
  • Learn more about the other indicators of Sjögren’s syndrome, what causes it to appear and the ideal diet that patients should consider to address health issues triggered by the disorder

In 2011, professional tennis player Venus Williams temporarily withdrew from the U.S. Open, after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Sjögren’s syndrome (pronounced as SHOW-grins).1 The tennis star recounted her experiences in media interviews with common indicators of this disorder, such as chronic and debilitating depression, swelling, numbness and fatigue.2

According to “The New Sjögren’s Syndrome Handbook,” while the first case report showing indications of Sjögren’s syndrome was recorded by physician Theodor Leber in 1882, the disease wasn’t “identified” until 1933, when ophthalmologist Henrik Sjögren published his seminal monograph.

The document examined the conditions of 19 patients with both dry eye and dry mouth, 13 of whom had arthritis too. Sjögren, in an attempt to check for abnormalities caused by dryness, examined the ocular surface of the patients. Further studies surrounding Sjögren’s work were done in the next 20 to 30 years, and in this period, antibodies and symptoms for this disease, now called Sjögren’s syndrome, were determined.3

What Is Sjögren’s Syndrome?

Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder wherein the body mistakenly attacks your moisture glands, particularly those that produce saliva and tears,4 ultimately reducing fluid production.5 While the most common indicators of this disease are dry eyes and a dry mouth, Sjögren’s syndrome may affect the entire body too. Symptoms can appear on your arms, joints, vagina, liver, stomach, nose and lungs, just to name a few.6

About half of the time, this disease develops alone. This type of Sjögren’s syndrome is called primary Sjögren’s syndrome. For the other half of cases, Sjögren’s syndrome can appear together with another autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or scleroderma, in what is known as secondary Sjögren’s syndrome.7,8

Sjögren’s syndrome tends to be overlooked or misdiagnosed, as some of this disease’s symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. According to the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation, a complete Sjögren’s syndrome diagnosis takes nearly three years to complete — that’s a huge window of opportunity for you to start working on addressing indicators and potential causes of this disease by being proactive and seeking advice from your physician.9

How Many People Develop Sjögren’s Syndrome?

In the U.S., nearly 4 million Americans have been diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, with 9 of 10 patients being women. Early indicators of this illness manifest in people aged 40 to 60 years old.10 However, taking precautionary measures against this disease is highly recommended because Sjögren’s syndrome can target virtually all types of people, no matter what sex, age, or racial or ethnic group they belong to.11,12

Don’t Lose Hope — You Can Combat Sjögren’s Syndrome

Read these Sjögren’s syndrome pages and be guided on what you can do to prevent it from affecting you in the first place. You may also learn more about the other indicators of Sjögren’s syndrome, what causes this disorder to appear and the ideal diet patients should consider to address health issues triggered by the disorder.

MORE ABOUT SJÖGREN'S SYNDROME

Sjögren's Syndrome: An Introduction

What Is Sjögren's Syndrome?

Sjögren's Syndrome Symptoms

Sjögren's Syndrome Causes

Sjögren's Syndrome Treatment

Sjögren's Syndrome Prevention

Sjögren's Syndrome Diet

Sjögren's Syndrome FAQ

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What Is Sjögren's Syndrome?

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