By Suzanne Monaghan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The 10th Annual Philadelphia Tri-State Sjogren’s Walkabout takes place May 3rd at the Philadelphia Zoo and organizers are hoping the event will raise awareness and help people recognize the signs of this autoimmune disorder.
Sjogren’s the second most prevalent autoimmune disorder in the U.S.
“We always say it’s one of the most common, yet unknown diseases,” CEO of the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation, Steven Taylor, says. “Affects about four million Americans. Three million of them have yet to be diagnosed.”
Taylor says it takes the average patient nearly five years to get that diagnosis:
“Because the symptoms mimic so many things that we all experience.”
Some of those symptoms include joint pain and fatigue, but Taylor says there are two symptoms that help set Sjogren’s apart — dry eyes and dry mouth. That’s because the disease attacks the moisture glands, including the liver, lungs and kidneys.