New York, NY (PRWEB) September 01, 2011
The stunning announcement last night of Venus Williams’ withdrawal from the U.S. Open tennis tournament due to a debilitating and difficult to diagnose autoimmune disease is important news for all women suffering similar symptoms. The Lupus Research Institute (LRI) President Margaret Dowd encourages women to speak to their physician if they have symptoms that include overwhelming fatigue and joint pain.
Sjögren’s syndrome often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, taking an average of 6.5 years to identify and treat. The difficulty lies mainly in the similarity of its symptoms to those of other autoimmune diseases. Sjögren's (SHOH-grins) syndrome is one of 80+ autoimmune diseases; it can occur as a primary condition or as a secondary disorder associated with other autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. A leading cause of death and disability that affects more than 23.5 million Americans, autoimmune disease means that because of a flaw in the immune system, the body is unable to tell the difference between self and non-self, producing antibodies that attack its own normal cells.
“In comments to the press, Ms. Williams expressed disappointment at being unable to compete because of severe fatigue and pain, but gratitude for recently receiving a diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome that explained symptoms she had been feeling for some time,” said Ms. Dowd. “Unfortunately, her experience is not uncommon; proper diagnosis can take years. Autoimmune disease is particularly prevalent among women in their childbearing years, which is why we particularly urge all young women to seek medical attention if they often feel overwhelmingly tired or have recurring joint pain.”
About the Lupus Research Institute
The Lupus Research Institute (LRI), the world’s leading private supporter of innovative research in lupus, pioneers discovery and champions scientific creativity in the hunt for solutions to this complex and dangerous autoimmune disease. Founded by families and shaped by leading scientists, the LRI mandates sound science and rigorous peer review to uncover and support only the highest ranked novel research to prevent, treat and cure lupus.
With its National Coalition of state and local lupus organizations, the LRI is dedicated to finding new and safer options for treating the disease by improving the design of clinical studies and promoting broad participation in clinical trials.