April is Sjögren’s Syndrome Awareness Month. This is held annually in an effort to spread awareness about this syndrome, and has been held since 1998. Unfortunately, this disease receives little attention despite the fact that it could affect as many as four million people in the US alone. In support of Sjögren’s Syndrome Awareness Month, the Sjögren’s Foundation will be posting on social media and their website about a different individual patient each day.
About Sjögren’s Syndrome
Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic, autoimmune disorder that specifically impacts the moisture-producing glands of the body. It is most distinguished by dry skin, eyes, and mouth. The disease often manifests in the fourth or fifth decade of life. Vaginal dryness is also a problem for female patients, who are more commonly affected than men. A combination of genetic predisposition alongside an environmental triggering event (such as an infection) are believed to cause the disorder. A family history of autoimmune disease should be considered a risk factor. Aside from persistent dryness in various areas of the body, disease progression can cause more systemic symptoms, like fatigue, difficulty swallowing, joint pain, and kidney dysfunction. The syndrome also increases risk of other autoimmune diseases and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Treatment is symptomatic and includes NSAIDs, artificial tears, and other immunosuppressant drugs. To learn more about Sjögren’s syndrome, click here.
The campaign is aimed at depicting the wide variety of people that are affected by this disorder. Sjögren’s syndrome is not a illness that affects everyone equally; some may only experience minor symptoms whereas others can face serious, life-limiting debilitation.
Here are some ways that you can get involved with Sjögren’s Syndrome Awareness Month:
- Update your profile picture with the Foundation’s Awareness frame
- Talk about your experiences as a patient on social media
- use the #ThisIsSjögrens hashtag
If you would like to learn more about how you can participate, click here.