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Venus Williams Diagnosed with Autoimmune Disease

 
9/1/2011

Tennis star Venus Williams has been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes dry eye, dry mouth and joint pain. The diagnosis prompted Williams to pull out of the U.S. Open so she can seek treatment.

"I am thankful I finally have a diagnosis and am now focused on getting better and returning to the court soon," she said in a statement.

Williams has missed several tournaments this summer due to health issues, reports noted.

Reports did not state whether Williams has been tested for celiac disease; however, Sjogren’s syndrome has been linked to celiac disease. Research has indicated that 4.5-15% of individuals with Sjogren’s syndrome also have celiac disease. A 2004 study by Szodoray et al. recommends screening  of Sjögren's syndrome patients to identify cases of celiac disease.

Like celiac disease, the exact trigger for Sjogren’s syndrome is unknown. “There's probably a genetic component, certainly, but there's more than that," a rheumatologist told the Los Angeles Times.

Read more from the Los Angeles Times and ABC News.

References:

Szodoray P et al. Coeliac disease in Sjögren's syndrome - a study of 111 Hungarian patients.
Rheumatology International 2004; 24(5): 278-82

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