Navigation Links
As Venus Williams Bows Out of U.S. Open, Little-Known Disease Takes Center Court
Date:9/1/2011

By Margaret Steele
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Venus Williams' surprising withdrawal from the U.S. Open on Wednesday has shifted the spotlight from the tennis star's daunting serve to her diagnosis with a little-known disease known as Sjogren's syndrome.

Williams, 31, said the disease has diminished her energy level and caused joint pain, curtailing her ability to continue in the tournament.

More than 4 million Americans have the chronic autoimmune disease, which also causes dry mouth and dry eyes. Ninety percent of those with the disease are women.

Sjogren's syndrome "targets and destroys over time the exocrine glands responsible for tear production and saliva -- and is characterized by dryness of the mouth and eyes," said Dr. Michael Belmont, an associate professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at NYU Langone Medical Center and medical director for Hospital for Joint Diseases. Less commonly, it can cause severe arthritis involving joint deformity and impaired function, he noted.

The publicity surrounding Williams' announcement is expected to increase awareness of the systemic disease, potentially leading to better diagnostic and treatment options.

"Sjogren's syndrome can occur as a primary disorder or secondary to other autoimmune diseases, principally rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus [lupus]," Belmont said. Multiple organs, including the kidneys, lungs, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels and the central nervous system, can also be involved.

When Sjogren's progresses to a multi-organ disease, treatment becomes complex, said Dr. Victoria Shanmugam, a rheumatologist at Georgetown University Medical Center.

"Treatment for Sjogren's ranges from therapies to alleviate symptoms, such as topical therapies for dry eyes and dry mouth, to drugs that suppress the immune system, including hydroxychloroque, methotrexate and steroids," said Shanmugam, who is not involved in Williams' care. "We also use medications that help fight fatigue and fibromyalgia symptoms."

Sjogren's, first identified in 1933, affects virtually every racial and ethnic group, according to the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation. It is difficult to diagnose because symptoms mimic other diseases. It takes nearly seven years, on average, for a diagnosis.

How the disease will play out for Williams is unclear. Symptoms can remain mild, worsen or, occasionally, go into remission, Belmont said.

While the exact cause of Sjogren's syndrome is not known, Belmont said genetic factors appear to be involved. "An as-yet unidentified environmental factor likely plays a role, as observation finds that identical twins with the same DNA do not always share the illness," he said.

However, it is found more commonly in families that have members with other autoimmune illnesses, he said, noting this supports the genetic theory.

"Early diagnosis and proper treatment are important -- they may prevent serious complications and greatly improve a patient's quality of life," he said.

More information

To learn more about the disorder, visit the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation.

SOURCES: Michael Belmont, M.D., associate professor, medicine, division of rheumatology, NYU Langone Medical Center, and medical director, Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York City; Victoria Shanmugam, M.D., rheumatologist, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C.


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Top Raleigh Dentist Robert Williamson Designated A Preferred Invisalign Provider
2. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Introduces The Editors Handbook: An Online Resource and CE Course
3. Skilled Colorado Plastic Surgeon Dr. Christopher G. Williams Earns Full Board Certification
4. Study of Williams syndrome patients reveals specific genes role in intelligence
5. Premier Raleigh NC Dentist, Dr. Williamson, Named America's Top Dentist for Sixth Consecutive Year
6. ASP announces 2010 T. Franklin Williams Scholars
7. NIH awards Salk Institute $5.5 million grant to study Williams syndrome
8. Little-known mouth fluid may lead to test for gum disease
9. Bathroom Injuries a Little-Known Problem
10. Early life stress may predict cardiovascular disease
11. Study finds racial gaps continue in heart disease awareness
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
As Venus Williams Bows Out of U.S. Open, Little-Known Disease Takes Center Court
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Apple ... care services, staged a mock evacuation of the facility as part of a disaster ... Fire Department, Echo Hose EMS and Shelton City Emergency Manager, as well as the ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s ... Alexandria Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s ... The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the ... danger possible to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains ... a dedicated teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Planet Fitness, one of the largest and ... plans to open a flagship location in Covington, LA at 401 N. U.S. Highway ... store next to Office Depot in the Holiday Square shopping center. Its location allows ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Asante, a nationally recognized health system in ... existing home health joint venture through an agreement, effective October 1, 2017, to ... home health company with Asante, delivering clinically integrated care, for the past eight ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... -- NDS received FDA 510(k) clearance in May 2017 for its highly ... designed for endoscopy environments. An innovative secondary monitor solution, ZeroWire ... support the improvement of patient outcomes, procedural efficiency, and the lowering ... ... ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... 4, 2017  South Korean-based healthcare product Development Company ... "cprCUBE" on Kickstarter. The device will educate the user ... with better efficiency compared to the dated and pricey ... on efficacy of the compression for a more informed ... goal to raise $5,000. ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2017  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: ... third quarter of 2017 on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. ... day with the investment community and media to further ... call will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern time. Investors, ... webcast of the conference call through a link that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: