Nearly million Americans fight the impact of this disease each day, yet the majority of people are unaware of what Sjogren’s syndrome is, how it appears or what can be done about it. World Sjogren’s Day is here to increase public knowledge, work to find a cure, and improve the amount of support for those who are living with this systemic disease.
History of World Sjogren’s Day
Sjogren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the entire body, specifically attacking the immune system glands that make moisture for the eyes, mouth, lungs and other body parts. While there is currently no cure for this disease, there are treatments that can help manage symptoms and make it possible for affected people to live a fairly normal life. Left untreated, however, this disease can cause extreme complications, including blindness, dental destruction or even cancer.
World Sjogren’s Day was a project of the Sjogren’s Foundation to raise awareness about this disease and its impact on millions of patients. The event is celebrated on this date in honor of the Swedish ophthalmologist who first discovered the disease, Dr. Henrik Sjogren, who was born on July 23, 1899.
The purpose behind World Sjogren’s Day is not only to increase awareness about the condition, but also to raise funds that can help with supporting those who have the disease as well as funding for research that is working toward a cure.
How to Observe World Sjogren’s Day
Get involved with World Sjogren’s Day and make a difference in someone’s life with some of these ideas:
Share Your Sjogren’s Story
One of the ways that the organizers encourage individuals with this syndrome to observe World Sjogren’s Day is by telling their stories. This could be in person, through local opportunities or globally through online spheres of influence.
Those who have been diagnosed and are living with Sjogren’s are encouraged to talk to people in their lives about their condition and how they experience it. And, because there is some evidence that the gene for the risk of Sjogren’s is most likely inherited, it is especially important to be sure that family members are educated about its signs and symptoms.
Spreading the word about Sjogren’s Syndrome is important because it could be the motivation someone needs to make a visit to their doctor. Or it could encourage someone to make a donation that aids with support and research.
Learn Signs and Symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome
Because Sjogren’s syndrome attacks the moisture-making glands, many of the signs and symptoms of this disease are related to the person experiencing dryness. Dry eyes, “cotton mouth”, dry skin and vaginal dryness can all be part of Sjogren’s syndrome. And although it may be different for each individual person who has it, here are some other signs or symptoms to look for:
- Muscle or joint pain
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Swelling of the salivary glands (between jaw and ears)
- Rashes (particularly after exposure to the sun)
Of course, a person who is experiencing these or other symptoms should be sure to get access to a medical professional to talk about these symptoms, whether ruling it out or obtaining a diagnosis and treatment.