Venus Williams Diagnosed With Sjogren’s Syndrome

The rare autoimmune disease that forced tennis star Venus Williams out of the U.S. Open caused debilitating joint pain, swelling, numbness and fatigue, she told Good Morning America’s Elizabeth Vargas today.

Williams announced her withdrawal from the tournament Wednesday after being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome — a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissues. Williams said she has struggled for years with symptoms that she now knows are linked to the condition.

“I think I’ve had issues with Sjogren’s for a while. It just wasn’t diagnosed,” Williams said. “The good news for me is now I know what’s happening.”

Sjogren’s is usually triggered by an infection. The symptoms vary, but usually include dryness in the mouth and eyes, joint and muscle inflammation, and fatigue.


Pictured: US tennis player Venus Williams returns a shot against Russia’s Vesna Dolonts during their US Open 2011 match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York August 29, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)