Many autoimmune diseases can take years to be correctly diagnosed. When there is a failure to diagnose a condition, it means that a patient suffers unnecessarily. Their condition can worsen significantly, because they are not getting the treatment that they desperately need.
Misdiagnosis is to blame for countless cases of patient death each year. Sjögren's syndrome is a serious disease that is very frequently misdiagnosed, and many suffer without being properly treated.
What is Sjögren's syndrome?
Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes white blood cells to attack the glands in the body that produce moisture. This means that those with Sjögren's syndrome suffer from a lesser ability to produce moisture in their glands. It is most common in people over the age of 40, and it is estimated that it can take an average of 5 years to diagnose.
What are the symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome?
Due to the body's decreased ability to produce moisture, sufferers report a dry mouth, burning throat, dental problems and decay, joint pain and severe fatigue. The syndrome can get worse over time and has the potential to debilitate a person and severely affect their quality of life.
These minor symptoms can be treated by immunosuppressants and moisturizers, however there is not yet a known cure. Correct diagnosis can go a long way to improving the quality of life for the patient.
If you believe that you have suffered as a result of a misdiagnosis of a disease, whether it is Sjögren's syndrome or another condition, your medical provider may be liable. Doctors have the duty to do what they can to correctly diagnose their patients.
Source: The Hearty Soul, "4 Million Americans Suffer From THIS Misdiagnosed Autoimmune Condition and Don’t Know It," accessed Feb. 16, 2018