Things You Don’t Know About Sjogren’s Syndrome

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Tomorrow, July 23rd, is World Sjogren’s Day 2010. Here are some things about Sjogren’s Syndrome.

  • It is an autoimmune disease: your body’s immune system malfunctions for some reason and begins attacking your own body instead of the foreign bodies it should be attacking. In the case of Sjogren’s, your white cells attack your moisture-producing glands.
  • It affects an estimated 4 million people, making it one of the most prevalent autoimmune diseases.
  • It’s not just dry eyes and dry mouth. Dryness can affect all body systems, including digestive tract, joints, organs–pretty much everything! Personally, I have mildly dry eyes and mouth, but have joint pain mimicking rheumatoid arthritis, sun sensitivity, fatigue, and digestive problems.
  • It is a progressive disease, meaning there is no cure and oftentimes continues to worsen.
  • Because the symptoms of Sjogren’s are vague and widespread, it often takes years to diagnose it. It took me over 10 years to get a diagnosis! No one could figure out why my hands hurt constantly. Finally, I saw a neurologist who performed a carpal tunnel nerve test and said I needed to visit a rheumatologist.
  • The majority of Sjogren’s sufferers are women, and a majority of them were diagnosed in their late 40s. I was officially diagnosed when I was 41, but had had symptoms since my early 30s.
  • There is no medication available that primarily treats Sjogren’s. Most patients live with a cocktail of prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, and supplements to treat their symptoms.

For more information, please visit the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation. And pass this along so that others will become familiar with Sjogren’s!

5 thoughts on “Things You Don’t Know About Sjogren’s Syndrome

  1. Thanks for the education…I’ve never heard of it. Autoimmune disorders run in my family…thyroid, AI hepatitis, etc, as well as arthritis. I thought I had RA for sure but didn’t test positive for it. For me it’s my feet that ache all the time. This is great info for me to have…I feel like it’s unfortunately only a matter of time for me…my mother and 2 sisters all have something AI-related.

    • Ai diseases run in my family too. My feet and ankles were bad for awhile and then I started methotrexate (my “meth”) and they are so much better! Thank God for medication! Keep an eye on things and let your doctors know if you get worse. Because there are things that can help!

  2. I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s a while back…my joints & muscles ache all over. Tired all the time…I exercise but I am only getting bigger around…I wonder if bloating is also a symptom of Sjogren’s. I am really tired of this…I was always a very healthy person…there has to be something that causes it. Holly B., I feel like I have Fibromyalgia and just figured that’s what I was dealing with. I’m just not willing to believe that there is no hope or cure for this…

    • Sorry you’re a fellow Sjo Girl, Paula! It’s a hard thing to deal with. There are some great on-line resources. If you’re interested in some of them, let me know! I’ll pass them along.

      And I agree with the fibro feeling. Some days it’s hard to tell if my joints hurt, my muscles…it’s all a jangle of ache!

      xo Susie

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