Held Dec. 4 on the opening of the four-day Pri-Med East conference at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the session was titled “Sjogren’s Syndrome: A Common, Complex, Misunderstood Autoimmune Disease.”
One of 60 conference sessions and workshops on a variety of conditions, and aimed mostly at primary care clinicians in the northeastern United States, the 20-topic Sjogren’s presentation helped teach attendees how to diagnose and manage the syndrome. This type of education is particularly timely as the number of rheumatologists in the U.S. declines.
As many as 4 million U.S. residents are living with Sjogren’s, a complex disorder that affects the entire body and causes symptoms such as extensive dryness in the mouth, throat, and eyes. Other complications can include profound fatigue, chronic pain, organ involvement, nerve problems, and lymphomas. Because Sjogren’s symptoms are often mistaken for other conditions, diagnosis takes an average of 2.8 years.
Aylin Madore, MD, Pri-Med’s vice president of curriculum development, said the medical education company is proud to partner with the SSF to teach clinicians about the complex symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of Sjogren’s. “It is essential that our healthcare providers appropriately diagnose Sjogren’s, as symptoms often mimic those of other diseases,” she said in a press release.
Specific session goals included ensuring that clinicians could identify Sjogren’s syndrome symptoms, describing methods used for diagnosis, and discussing treatment options and the status of Sjogren’s clinical trials.
Among the speakers were physicians Theresa Lawrence Ford, CEO and medical director of the North Georgia Rheumatology Group, and clinical associate professor at Philadelphia College of Medicine; and Judith Furlong, a family medicine specialist at the University of Toledo College of Medicine.
Through its continuing education sessions, Pri-Med helps healthcare professionals keep up with the latest medical knowledge.
To help minimize Sjogren’s effects, nonprofit SSF provides patients with practical information and coping strategies. It also is a clearinghouse for medical information and is a national advocate. The foundation also had a booth at the conference where clinicians could learn more about the disease and available resources.