But, you don’t look sick: Life with Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease characterized by symptoms such as dry mouth and dry eyes. The body’s immune system basically attacks the healthy cells that produce saliva and tears. While dry eyes and mouth are common symptoms, many people with Sjogren’s also experience fatigue, joint pain, and even dysfunction of some organs like kidneys, lungs, and liver.

According to the American College of Rheumatology, Sjogren’s affects ten times as many women as men. Symptoms typically appear between the ages of 45 and 55. While symptoms can vary in intensity, those with Sjogren’s all seem to agree on one thing – living with the disease is not easy.

Sjogren’s syndrome is sometimes referred to as an ‘invisible’ disease. While the disease is physically and emotionally draining, it’s not visible to those looking in from the outside. If you have a broken bone, that’s visibly clear from the outside. You’re more inclined to receive offers of help from other people. With Sjogren’s, it’s simply not visibly tangible. While your quality of life may be severely affected, no one is able to see it from the outside.

Sjogren’s can cause issues like chronic tooth decay due to severe dry mouth. Severe dry eyes can cause sensitivity to light, making sunglasses a must for outdoors.  Working at a job that requires being at a computer all day can further irritate dry eyes. Pain in the hands, feet, and back are also common, along with fatigue.

While it’s clear that living with Sjogren’s syndrome can present challenges, new options may be available. If you or someone you love is looking for new treatment options when it comes to managing symptoms associated with Sjogren’s syndrome, studies are enrolling now that could help. Qualified participants have access to potential new medications, and receive care from board-certified physicians and other medical staff. Those that qualify may also be compensated for time and travel expenses. CLICK HERE to learn more about these exciting research opportunities.