You wouldn’t know by her superstar powers on the tennis court that Venus Williams has an autoimmune disease and has been battling it for years. This disease, which Williams was diagnosed with in 2011, is called Sjögren’s syndrome, and it almost ended her tennis career.
She’s young, beautiful and her career is on fire as a singer and dancer who performs around the world, so Selena Gomez’s millions of fans were shocked when she cancelled a world tour in 2016 and revealed to the world that she had been battling lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune diseases are on the rise, according to recent publications. Approximately 5-8 percent of the U.S. population, or 14-22 million people, are affected by these diseases. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are at least 80 known autoimmune-related diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases (such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease), thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s), myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus and psoriasis.
You can’t miss them -- on television, online and in magazines, advertisements showing an average person (someone just like you, perhaps) suffering from one medical ailment or another. With the help of the medicine being promoted, they feel a thousand times better and get on with their daily lives. Then comes the rapid-fire or, in the case of newspapers and magazines, the fine-print, about the medication’s potential side effects, ranging from nausea to even death.
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