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:2/23/2017)... Boston, MA (PRWEB) , ... February 23, 2017 ... ... Education and Department of Justice jointly issued a letter to withdraw ... in accordance with their gender identity. The guidance issued in May 2016 by ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... The American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association ... Annual Meeting. KLS is a longtime supporter of the event. , "We are ... Platinum Sponsor," said Dr. Bob Havlik, 2017 ACPA President. "KLS Martin has a long ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... EBSCO Information ... National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) framework. The agreement ... Health Service (NHS) to search, order and purchase medical and healthcare-related content through ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ERT, a global data and ... Premier Research, a leading clinical development service provider, has selected ERT’s Trial Oversight ... due in part to an array of circumstances including the use of multiple ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... (PRWEB) February ... for the nation to come together to combine its favorite ... with its favorite fruit – apples! To celebrate National Nutrition ... join the “Apple Madness” bracket tournament – a five-week, five-round ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... , Feb 23, 2017 Research and Markets ... Price Analysis and Strategies - 2016" report to their offering. ... The latest ... provides drug pricing data and benchmarks in the global Autism Spectrum ... What are the key drugs marketed for Autism ...
(Date:2/23/2017)...  Cogentix Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ: CGNT), a medical device ... for the urology market, will release financial results for ... 2016 before the market open on Thursday, March 9, ... conference call and webcast to discuss its financial results ... 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time (10:00 a.m. Central Time). ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... to their offering. ... latest research Menopause Drugs Price Analysis and Strategies - 2016, provides drug ... answers the following questions: What are the ... positioned in the Global Menopause market? What are the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: