Sjögren’s (“SHOW-grins”) is a systemic autoimmune disease that affects the entire body. Along with symptoms of extensive dryness, other serious complications include profound fatigue, chronic pain, major organ involvement, neuropathies, and lymphomas.
Although many patients experience dry eyes, dry mouth, fatigue and joint pain, Sjögren’s can also cause dysfunction of organs such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system. Patients also have a higher risk of developing lymphoma. Today, as many as four million Americans are living with this disease.
Sjögren’s is a systemic disease, affecting the entire body. Symptoms may remain steady, worsen, or, uncommonly, go into remission. While some people experience mild discomfort, others suffer debilitating symptoms that greatly impair their functioning. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are important — they may prevent serious complications and greatly improve a patient’s quality of life.
Symptoms vary from person to person but may include:
a dry, gritty or burning sensation in the eyes
difficulty talking, chewing or swallowing
a sore or cracked tongue
dry or burning throat
dry or peeling lips
a change in taste or smell
increased dental decay
vaginal and skin dryness
by Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation
Research. Research well. Find questions. Find things that scare you. Find things that make you feel comforted (it will be hard). Take it to your doctor. One step at a time.
I hate to tell you, but this is the most difficult change in your life, because it never stops changing. Five years from now, you’ll still be assessing every single symptom, you’ll still betesting the boundaries. This is a systemic disease, and rarely does it bring relief. Learn to live with changes. Become comfortable while being uncomfortable. And research. Research, research, research. You cannot know too much.
Take it all into your mind, and make your life work.
The following websites have helped me for the entirety that I’ve been diagnosed with this disease. They regularly update as research provides. The first link is now your favorite website, your favorite book, and your essential bible for your health.
Upon being diagnosed with any disease by a medical professional, make sure to do your research. Write down questions that you plan to consult your doctor with. In no way is this page meant for diagnostic purposes, rather a sign that you are not alone in the darkness of this never ending tunnel.❤️