There seems to be a “sweet spot” for diagnosis and for people reacting to what’s going on with you in a way that reaffirms what’s happening.
I was 31 when I first reported symptoms to my PCP and optometrist. I know that I was younger than that when symptoms first began showing up. It took a while for the “symptom creep” to get to the point that I would be bringing it my doctors. Likely it was my late 20’s that it started.
The information on Sjogren’s says that symptoms typically begin between ages 45 and 55. Although I doubt that being in that “sweet spot” means diagnosis happens much more quickly. It still takes putting together seemingly desperate symptoms into one diagnosis and that will likely take a long time and many doctors visits before it happens, no matter your age.
However when you’re younger than the “sweet spot” people tend to tell you that you’re too young and write it off. The symptoms must be a fluke, or in your head, or not as big of a deal as you’re making them.
I imagine that when you’re older than the “sweet spot” people write it off as aging. Dry eyes and mouth, as well as joint pain and brain fog, naturally increase as a person ages. But this disease goes beyond appropriate symptoms for the aging process – it’s pronounced symptoms.
It seems all too easy to look at “average” and “typical” and forget that there are outliers in every “average.” It’s already too easy to ignore symptoms of these diseases – simple because of the invisible and “creeping” nature of them – age doesn’t need to be yet another reason to ignore them.