One of the main difficulties with diagnosing Sjögren’s is that symptoms vary from person to person. Often patients will visit their dentist for dry mouth or excessive tooth decay and then their primary physician for joint pain and fatigue. This makes it difficult for both the patient and physician to put the symptoms together.
As we continue on the road of achieving our breakthrough goal of shortening the time to diagnose Sjögren’s by 50% in 5 years, it is important to first identify the main reasons why people go to the doctor and seek a diagnosis.
In a recent survey of over 4,000 Sjögren’s patients, it was discovered that the four main reasons patients sought a diagnosis (in order) were:
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth
- Joint pain
While we know Sjögren’s is much more than just the 4 hallmark symptoms of fatigue, joint pain, dry eyes and dry mouth, it is important to note that dry eyes and dry mouth are the two top symptoms that caused patients to seek a diagnosis.
What is also important to note is that in the same survey, dry eyes and dry mouth were ranked #1 and #2 for symptoms patients currently still experience after diagnosis:
Common Symptoms Experienced by Patients Post Diagnosis were:
- 92% Dry eyes
- 91% Dry mouth
- 86% Sleep disruption
This is why, it is imperative that we reach out to dentists, dental hygienists, ophthalmogists, optometrists and rheumatologists with information about Sjögren’s and its hallmark symptoms.These are the physicians who are on the front lines and can help speed up a diagnosis of Sjögren’s.
So remember, the Foundation offers “Dry Eyes,” “Dry Mouth” and “What is Sjögren’s Syndrome?” brochures to all medical offices, free of charge. We hope you will consider taking some of them to your next doctor visit! Sign up to be an Awareness Ambassador or help us spread the word about Sjögren’s by distributing brochures!
Just call our office and request some brochures and we will mail them to you. Or have your doctor’s office contact us or sign-up online for brochures. Visit www.sjogrens.org or call us at 800-475-6473.