Venus Willams is incomparable.
One of the most decorated tennis players in its history, she has managed to come out as the victor of most challenges she faced on the court. One obstacle she didn’t foresee was her battle with her own body while in the prime of her career.
For the past decade, she has struggled with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that affects about 4 million people in the U.S.
She first began noticing symptoms in 2004, experiencing fatigue and breathing difficulty.
“No matter how hard I worked, I was exhausted, short of breath, and never felt in shape. It was really frustrating,” Williams told Prevention.com in an interview. “My symptoms got progressively worse, to the point where I couldn’t play professional tennis anymore.”
It took seven years to get an official diagnosis. Sjogren’s syndrome is most commonly spotted by doctors based on two of its most common symptoms: dry eye and dry mouth. But unfortunately with most autoimmune diseases, the symptoms are easily disguised by revolving causes.
So, what is Sjögren’s Syndrome?
According to Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation, it is a systemic autoimmune disease that affects the entire body. Along with symptoms of extensive dryness, other serious complications include profound fatigue, chronic pain, major organ involvement, neuropathies, and lymphomas.
How is it diagnosed?
The Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation reports that there is no single test that will confirm the diagnosis of Sjögren’s and thus physicians must