This April and May, Beyond Celiac has joined forces with Sjögren’s Foundation to spread awareness about Sjögren’s and celiac disease during our respective awareness months. April is Sjögren’s Awareness Month and May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Celiac disease may be up to 10 times more prevalent in those with Sjogren’s than in the general population. This increased prevalence of celiac disease is seen in other conditions mediated by the immune system, such as autoimmune thyroiditis or type I diabetes.
(Learn more about the connection between Sjögren’s and celiac disease.)
Guest post by Sjögren’s Foundation
Sjögren’s Awareness Month was first established in 1998 when New York Congresswoman, Louise Slaughter, read it into the Congressional Record. Today, the Foundation works to keep the spirit of national awareness alive every April. In our new 2021 theme, we are going to be highlighting the many Faces of Sjögren’s to expand our #ThisIsSjögrens online campaign and share your stories! You are the voice and the face of the Foundation and it is the collection of your experiences that truly portrays this complex disease.
Sjögren’s is one of the most prevalent but still lesser-known autoimmune diseases, affecting an estimated four million Americans, both men and women of different ages and ethnicities. One of the difficulties with awareness is that Sjögren’s isn’t a “cookie-cutter” disease and symptoms can manifest in various ways from patient to patient. Many symptoms are also referred to as invisible because you cannot see someone’s profound fatigue or when the disease has advanced to his/her internal organs.
This leads to a misunderstanding about the seriousness of the disease, which can be extremely isolating for those living with it. The Foundation wants to help close the gap between the reality of living with the disease and the perception that many non-patients may have by showing the faces of real patients, talking about how the disease affects them and how we are working together to conquer Sjögren’s.
Every day in April, the Foundation will highlight a different patient and share a glimpse into their life living with the disease on our website and social media accounts. While each daily post will only give a small insight into what is Sjögren’s, by the end of the month, we hope these 30 posts will showcase the complexity of the disease.
We hope you will join us in educating the public about Sjögren’s and encourage you to use April Awareness Month as a way to talk about the disease. Every day is an opportunity to start a conversation about living with Sjögren’s and how it affects you. Help educate the world that this is a serious disease and remember, the more others understand, the more support you can find.