Happy World Sjogren's Day! Well, technically I'm a couple days late on this one. But spreading awareness about Sjogren's should be more than something assigned to a particular day or month of the year. Like many of you, I want to do my small part to try and make Sjogren's a KNOWN autoimmune disease.
Here are some important tidbits about Sjogren's that are easy to pass along to family and friends:
-Sjogren's is the 2nd most prevalent autoimmune disease impacting an estimated 4 million Americans
-The disease takes an average of 5 years to diagnose. That's way too long and many patients develop unnecessary serious complications due to disease progression and lack of early treatment.
-Many think Sjogren's is just a disease that impacts the moisture producing glands, tears, and saliva, BUT that is just the tip of the iceberg.
-Sjogren's can impact any organ or body system including joints, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels, digestive and nervous systems. (I've had to include a favorite Sjogren's diagram above and it's not even comprehensive).
-Many with Sjogren's experience debilitating fatigue and joint pain.
-Compared to other autoimmune diseases Sjogren's has been under researched, under treated, and often minimized. We need to change that! (Read an excellent article by Dr. Sarah Schafer a physician with the disease to understand how much needs to be done here)
My mantra has become Sjogren's is Serious. I hope others in the autoimmune disease community can help us speed this message as we fight for better diagnosis, recognition, treatment, and care.