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.
2 thoughts on “Too young or too old?”
My daughter began feeling really unwell at 16. “Luckily” she had positive blood test results for SJS/Lupus at 17. She has collected other ailments along the way. She’s now 23 and coping pretty well – it has been a huge roller coaster ride though.
While it breaks my heart that she has been diagnosed with multiple AI diseases so young, I am grateful that she was diagnosed quickly without years of the doctors run around that is so common.
This is too true with too much regarding our health. The whole idea of “normal” levels of things speaks to this. Normal temperatures, normal levels of whatever in your blood. It’s all based on “normal” people. What if we (those of us who are sick) aren’t normal to begin with. So our needed levels of whatever are higher than what the “normal” person needs? This is something that’s been running rampant in my head for a while. I have a dr now treating me for low thyroid, and she said that my levels are such that most drs wouldn’t bother, but given my symptoms/ health/ etc that she felt it was worth looking at. Most drs are stuck in their box and won’t look at something unless it fits perfectly. When I asked about getting tested for Lyme disease (which I’ve still not managed to get done) I was told “we don’t have that in AL”. Despite the fact that we do have that, and I live in the woods and before that I was living in the woods in MI where the risk is even higher. Somehow we’ve got to convince drs to look beyond the box.