When former No. 1 women's tennis star Venus Williams withdrew from the U.S. Open this week, she brought immediate attention to the little-known autoimmune disease Sjögren's syndrome, thought to afflict some 0.5% of adults.
Steven Taylor, who heads the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation, said in a statement, "On behalf of the four million Americans with Sjögren's, we applaud Venus for publicly stepping forward and shedding light on this serious autoimmune disease."
Diagnosing the disease can be challenging, and can involve salivary flow testing, salivary gland biopsy, and blood tests for autoantibodies such as rheumatoid factor, antinuclear antibodies, SSA and SSB antibodies.
Some similarities exist between Sjögren's syndrome and other autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, including articular, renal, and neurologic involvement.
B cells are thought to play a crucial part in the development of Sjögren's syndrome, accumulating and becoming hyperactive in the exocrine glands and heightening immune antigenic responses.
"Patients with Sjögren's have a risk of lymphoma that is as much as 40-fold higher than the general population," Spiera said.
"Most patients with the disorder live very productive lives. Tennis star Venus Williams withdrew from the U.S. Open on Wednesday, citing a diagnosis of Sjögren's syndrome, a little-known autoimmune disorder that causes fatigue and joint pain. Shanmugam is not involved in Williams' treatment but currently sees other patients with Sjögren's (pronounced show-grens).
What is Sjögren's syndrome?. It's an autoimmune disease that is typically characterized by inflammation in the tear ducts and salivary glands. Many people will have a very mild form and experience dryness of the eyes and mouth, fatigue, joint pain and myalgias [or muscle pain]. How common is Sjögren's?. Is there a connection between Sjögren's and lupus?. What causes Sjögren's?. Can Sjögren's be treated?. We'll treat people dependent on where they are on the disease spectrum. For slightly more severe disease, we use disease-modifying drugs that are similar to treatments for lupus. If there is more severe inflammation involving the lung, kidney or liver, we can pick more potent immune-suppressing medications such as steroids or methotrexate to really suppress the immune system.
Many many people with Sjögren's lead very full and active lives. VENUS WILLIAMS fully expects to return to tennis despite being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that causes fatigue and led to her shock decision to withdraw from the US Open.
“Absolutely, absolutely. Williams withdrew from the year’s final grand slam on Wednesday with Sjogren’s Syndrome, a chronic disease where white blood cells attack moisture-producing glands and can cause dysfunction of organs and body systems. Three-time champion Serena Williams wasted little time in crushing Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands 6-0 6-1 in their second round meeting.