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Understanding Sjogren's

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Friday, April 12, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Understanding Sjogren's

I would like to call your attention to a serious health condition that should be addressed. Sjogren's syndrome is the second-leading autoimmune disorder behind rheumatoid arthritis, and it affects nearly four million Americans, yet most people never heard of it.

With Sjogren's syndrome, immune cells attack and destroy moisture-producing glands, leaving hallmark symptoms such as dry eyes and dry mouth, which that can lead to many serious health problems if left untreated. As a patient myself, I find it shocking that it takes approximately seven years and sometimes even longer for people to be diagnosed.

It took more than 10 years before I was diagnosed, resulting in serious health issues now. I suffer from neurological problems, concentration/memory loss, dry nose, recurrent sinusitis, nose bleeds, dry mouth, mouth sores, dental decay, among many other health conditions. I've had strokes and transient ischemic attacks over the years.

The Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation, in collaboration with Daiichi Sanko Inc., recently launched the Defy The Dry campaign in an effort to educate the public about Sjogren's syndrome and encourage people to talk to their doctors about dryness symptoms.

We hope to inspire discussions about the symptoms related to Sjogren's syndrome and, ultimately, to reduce the time to diagnosis by 50 percent in five years.

Sheila Rae Lytle


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