World Sjögren’s Day is observed every year on July 23. On this day, the Sjögren’s Foundation and other organizations join together to spread awareness about this disease, help people better understand the symptoms, and how to treat it. Sjögren’s syndrome is an immune system disorder whose two primary symptoms include dry eyes and mouth, as it attacks the cells that produce saliva and tears, as well as other parts of the body, such as the thyroid, kidneys, liver, lungs, and nerves. Other symptoms include joint pain, skin rashes, vaginal dryness, continuous dry cough, swollen salivary glands, poor dental health, excessive thirst, and prolonged fatigue of many kinds.
History of World Sjogren's Day
The first person credited with describing Sjögren’s Syndrome was Jan Mikulicz-Radecki. In 1892, he described a 42-year-old man with enlargement of the parotid and lacrimal glands associated with a round-cell infiltrate and acinar atrophy. But these criteria often led to the disease being mistaken for Mikulicz’s syndrome. Nevertheless, this term is still used sometimes to describe the appearance of lymphocytic infiltrates on salivary-gland biopsies.
Henrik Sjögren was born on July 23, 1899, in Koping, Sweden, and graduated from the Karolinska Institute of Medicine in 1927. In 1929 Dr. Sjögren met a patient who complained about having dry eyes, a dry mouth, and joint pain. While many of these symptoms were already well known, it was the combination of them that seemed odd to him, and he decided to investigate. In 1933, he published his doctoral thesis describing 19 females, most of whom were postmenopausal and had arthritis, showing clinical and pathological manifestations of the syndrome. His thesis was not well received at first, as the Board of Examiners criticized some clinical aspects.
After extensive research and data collection, Sjögren published an essential paper in 1951, describing 80 patients with dry eyes, 50 of whom also had arthritis. He called the disease ‘keratoconjunctivitis sicca,’ and it began to be called Sjögren’s Syndrome in literature. Nowadays, ‘keratoconjunctivitis sicca’ is used as a scientific term for dry eyes. The Sjögren Foundation was created by Elaine Harris in 1983. She was a patient diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome who was frustrated by how long it took to identify her symptoms and the lack of information.
World Sjogren's Day timeline
Jan Mikulicz-Radecki describes a 42-year-old man with enlargement of the parotid and lacrimal glands associated with a round-cell infiltrate and acinar atrophy.
He is born in Koping, Sweden, and graduates from the Karolinska Institute of Medicine in 1927.
Sjögren’s thesis describes 19 females, most of whom are postmenopausal and have arthritis, showing clinical and pathological manifestations of the illness.
Sjögren publishes a paper after extensive research and data collection, describing the condition of 80 patients with dry eyes, 50 of whom also have arthritis.
Elaine Harris, a Sjögren’s syndrome patient, creates this organization frustrated at how long it took to identify her symptoms and the lack of information about the illness.
World Sjogren's Day FAQs
Is Sjögren's a serious disease?
Yes, but if treated on time, complications are less likely to develop, and tissue damage is less likely to occur.
How long can you live with Sjögren's Syndrome?
Life expectancy in primary Sjögren’s Syndrome is comparable to that of the general population, but it can take up to seven years to correctly diagnose and can affect a person’s quality of life.
What does Sjögren's pain feel like?
A patient with Sjögren’s syndrome may feel that various parts of their body, such as their muscles, are achy and tender, or that their joints are painful and swollen due to inflammation.
How to Observe World Sjogren's Day
Donate to the Sjögren’s Foundation
You can donate to the Sjögren’s Foundation online. Alternatively, you can do it by mail or phone at: Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation – World Sjögren’s Day, 6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 325, Bethesda, Maryland, 20817, (301) 530-4420.
Share this day on social media
To help spread awareness of Sjögren’s syndrome, a simpler thing you can do is to tell others about it today. Make a post on social media about how today is World Sjögren’s Day, or share this article or others about the illness.
Read a book about Sjögren’s syndrome
To find out even more about this illness and current treatments, read a book about it. We recommend “The Sjögren’s Book.”
5 Important Facts About Sjögren’s Syndrome
Some famous people that suffer from Sjögren’s syndrome include Venus Williams and Olympic gold medalist, Shannon Boxx.
It predominantly affects women
Ten times as many women as men are diagnosed with Sjögren's.
It can affect any age
While most often diagnosed in women during middle age or after menopause, it can affect people of any age, including children, though younger Sjögren's syndrome patients often present differently from adults.
Sjögren's syndrome patients without an accompanying major autoimmune connective tissue disease number between 400,000 and 3.1 million adults, and, when including those who also have another related disease, the prevalence is doubled.
There is no cure currently
The symptoms can be relieved with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, hydroxychloroquine, and other drugs that calm the immune system and treatments for dryness.
Why World Sjogren's Day is Important
It raises awareness of an often under-discussed illness
Many people have never heard of Sjögren's syndrome. It’s important that they check for possible symptoms since it’s particularly hard to diagnose.
It encourages research of the topic
Besides the usual encouragement from healthcare professionals to researchers and students, the Sjögren’s Foundation can help too. Donations to them help to fund research.
It helps to make patients of Sjögren’s syndrome more visible
This is another way to raise people’s awareness of the illness. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome, share your story on social media. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #WorldSjogrensDay.
World Sjogren's Day dates