It’s the start of Sjögren’s Syndrome Awareness Month and it’s no joke.
For my first post on Sjögren’s Syndrome, I’m going to list some key facts about it.
- It’s pronounced “show-grins”.
- The disease was first identified in 1933 by Dr. Henrik Sjögren.
- In the U.S. alone over 4 million Americans have Sjögren’s, yet it is virtually unknown or completely misunderstood by the medical community. In contrast, only about 250,000 Americans have Multiple Sclerosis.
- 90% of sufferers are female. I’ll talk more about this in a later post regarding Sjögren’s impact on sexual intercourse, which may also help women who don’t have Sjögren’s.
- Those who have heard of it think it’s just dry eyes and a dry mouth, but it’s actually an autoimmune disease. Other autoimmune diseases you may have heard of include multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac’s disease, mixed connective tissue disorder, scleroderma, Epstein Barr, Addison’s disease, Grave’s disease, Hashimoto’s disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, pernicious anemia, Raynaud’s phenomena, sarcoidosis, psoriasis, and diabetes. There are probably more than those and I apologize if I missed one.
- Sjögren’s is actually the third most prevalent of all rheumatic autoimmune diseases, surpassed by Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
- The only celebrity that is currently known to suffer from it is female tennis player Venus Williams.
- The best resource for information on Sjögren’s Syndrome is the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation. They publish a handbook with the most accurate information.
More to come in the month ahead. There’s a lot more to know, but I figured a little bit at a time is best.