Some people are experts at displaying a strong exterior while battling some of the harshest physical ailments known to mankind. Tennis superstar Venus Williams is one of them.
While it sounds unbelievable considering her impeccable performance in the sport, Williams is suffering from what is known as Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune condition that she was diagnosed with, in the year 2011.
About Sjogren’s Syndrome
While it may sound rare, the Sjogren’s syndrome is actually more common than you may think. According to reported figures by the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation, there are around 4 million people in the US who are suffering from the disease.
This means that as far as rheumatologic disorders are concerned — which are all those disorders that impact the entire body of the sufferer — Sjogren’s syndrome is the second most commonly occurring one.
If you’re wondering why this syndrome has such an odd name, there is a very simple explanation. Apparently, it was Dr. Henrik Sjogren who first identified the disorder back in the 1930s, and hence it was named after him.
An Autoimmune Issue
Sjogren’s Disorder is one of the few autoimmune issues that a person can have inside the body. Just like any autoimmune disorder, which forces the immune system to start fighting otherwise normally functioning body parts, Sjogren’s makes the body’s immune system launch an attack on the tear and the saliva glands of the body, thereby causing them to not function properly.
For example, the sufferer of Sjogren’s Disorder would experience dryness in the mouth as well as the eyes. But that’s not all. It also impacts other parts of the body such as joints, blood vessels, and the nerves, to name a few.
While the list of symptoms is exhaustive, not everyone experiences the same kinds of symptoms, with some experiencing few and others experiencing many of them such as organ inflammation, problems in the thyroid, and also rashes.
According to the information present on the website of Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation, these symptoms can act autonomously and unpredictably, steadying, worsening, or improving at will.
One of the most troubling facts about Sjogren’s syndrome is that the disorder is usually not diagnosable until around three years after the appearance of earliest signs and symptoms, mostly because the initial symptoms falsely point to the possibility of having other conditions.
Although there is no single known cause of Sjogren’s syndrome, as per the information provided by the American College of Rheumatology, the disease could be onset due to the existence of an already existing autoimmune issue such as lupus.
Medical professionals — well, at least some of them — have opined that the syndrome most likely stems from heredity or through the virus and/or bacteria found in the environment.
Can You Prevent It?
While there might not be any cure for it as of now, Venus Williams believes that consuming a vegan diet certainly helps, especially with the symptoms. Since the disease has a lot to do with inflammation, the best way to prevent its onset would be to consume a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods.