Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April is Sjögren’s Syndrome Awareness Month

Last year, I wrote that April is Autism Awareness Month. It still is. But April is also Sjögren’s Syndrome Awareness Month.

Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder. It's characterized by dry mouth and dry eyes, because the body's immune system attacks the moisture-producing glands. But it can affect other organs and the central nervous system as well. Click here to read more about Sjögren’s Syndrome. The FAQ may be helpful, too.

About six months before my wife had her attack of Transverse Myelitis, she had swelling of both her parotid (salivary) glands. This was very painful, and it baffled her primary care doctor. Eventually, she found herself in the care of a rheumatologist who suspected Sjögren’s Syndrome. But the tests were negative. Researchers now know that Sjögren’s can cause Transverse Myelitis.

So the Grand Unifying Theory of What's Wrong With My Wife is most likely that she has Sjögren’s Syndrome. This would explain the dry mouth and the parotid gland swelling, the Transverse Myelitis, the instances of joint and muscle pain, the fatigue, the brain fog, the neuropathy. My guess is that it will eventually be linked to PUPPP (Pregnancy Rash), which my wife had about nine years prior to the start of this Nightmare.

As more patients and especially doctors become aware of Sjögren’s Syndrome, folks with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and/or Fibromyalgia might be properly diagnosed and find some relief with immunosuppressive drugs.

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