Venus Williams, tennis superstar, announced Wednesday that she was withdrawing from the U.S. Open due to a medical condition known as Sjögren’s syndrome.
Not many people are familiar with Sjögren’s syndrome. It is an autoimmune disease that affects moisture production glands in the human body; the syndrome alters lives, but does not actually threaten them.
The syndrome causes inflammation in the tear ducts and salivary glands. The most common symptoms of Sjögren’s are dry eye, joint pain, dry mouth, muscle pain, and fatigue. The lungs and liver can sometimes also be affected.
Even though many people are unfamiliar with Sjögren’s, it is not that uncommon.
Experts say that some people may have the syndrome and not know it. A study by the Mayo Clinic indicated that 1% of the population may have Sjögren’s, while a study in Europe found 4%.
It is more comment in women that men and is not usually diagnosed until middle age.