The story behind Venus Williams’ off-court struggle

Venus_Williams_(9630793483)

“Venus Williams (9630793483)” by Edwin Martinez from The Bronx – US Open 2013 Part 2 531Uploaded by Flickrworker. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Venus_Williams_(9630793483).jpg#/media/File:Venus_Williams_(9630793483).jpg

When Venus Williams takes on her sister Serena in the U.S. Open quarterfinals on Sep. 8, few will be able to tell that she’s also battling a chronic disease.

In 2011, the elder Williams sister was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that dries out the mouth and eyes, and can also sap strength and cause joint and muscle pain, coughing, and limb numbness.

Williams went through a series of misdiagnoses for years, The New York Times reported. Sjogren’s is difficult to pinpoint since it has so many seemingly unrelated symptoms that could also be caused by a whole host of other diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and exercise-induced asthma.

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