Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Venus Williams at recent celebration of Hampton's Magazine cover of herself and sister Serena
After the very sudden and unexpected announcement of her withdrawal from the 2011 U.S. Open, American Venus Williams has disclosed in a statement that she was recently diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disease in which people’s white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands causing low energy levels and joint pain among other symptoms.
According to the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation website, although the hallmark symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, Sjögren’s may also cause dysfunction of other organs such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system. Patients may also experience extreme fatigue and joint pain and have a higher risk of developing lymphoma.
With upwards of 4,000,000 Americans suffering from Sjögren’s syndrome, it is one of the most prevalent autoimmune disorders. Nine out of 10 patients are women.
In her statement Venus said, “I’m really disappointed to have to withdraw from this year’s US Open. I have been recently diagnosed with Sjögren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease which is an ongoing medical condition that affects my energy level and causes fatigue and joint pain. I enjoyed playing my first match here and wish I could continue but right now I am unable to. I am thankful I finally have a diagnosis and am now focused on getting better and returning to the court soon."
God's speed Venus.