A New Resource for Sjögren’s Patients - LivingWithDryness.com

Results from a recent survey of 400 Sjögren’s syndrome patients showed that half of those surveyed experienced common symptoms such as dry mouth or dry eyes for three or more years before receiving an accurate diagnosis from a healthcare professional.  The survey also found that a lack of patient-physician dialogue about symptoms such as dry mouth contribute to delayed diagnosis.

“Sjögren’s syndrome symptoms are often similar to other serious conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, or can be mistaken for signs of the natural aging process, so healthcare professionals have a lot to consider when making a diagnosis,” said Michael Brennan, DDS, MHS, Director of the Sjögren's Syndrome and Salivary Disorders Center at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C.  “Additionally, diagnosing the condition is challenging because patients often try to cope with symptoms of the disease without talking with a doctor.”

For instance, untreated or undiagnosed patients with dry mouth may combat this symptom by drinking more water.  However, doing so can actually wash away existing saliva which contains beneficial components not found in water, and thereby make dry-mouth symptoms worse.

“It took more than seven years and five doctor visits before I was finally diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome,” said Kathy McCarren from Alexandria, VA.  “It’s scary to imagine that even though my dry-mouth symptoms were painful and interfered with my ability to chew and swallow food, they could lead to even bigger health problems down the road.  It wasn’t until my rheumatologist and I discussed my dry-mouth symptoms in more detail that I was tested for Sjögren’s syndrome.  I’m now taking the necessary steps to manage my dry-mouth symptoms.”

A new website, www.livingwithdryness.com, created by Daiichi-Sankyo, the makers of Evoxac, was launched this month to be a resource for patients who think they might have Sjögren’s. The website is full of plenty of information about living with dryness caused by Sjögren’s as well as tips for opening a dialogue with your doctor to discuss these issues.

Every new resource that helps to raise awareness about the seriousness of Sjögren’s is a great asset and that is why we are very excited that Daiichi-Sankyo created livingwithdryness.com and launched the site just in time April Sjögren’s Awareness Month.