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Sjogren's Syndrome

Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease. This means that your immune system attacks parts of your own body by mistake. In Sjogren's syndrome, it attacks the glands that make tears and saliva. This causes a dry mouth and dry eyes. You may have dryness in other places that need moisture, such as your nose, throat, and skin. Sjogren's can also affect other parts of the body, including your joints, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels, digestive organs, and nerves.

Most people with Sjogren's syndrome are women. It usually starts after age 40. It is sometimes linked to other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

To make a diagnosis, doctors may use a medical history, physical exam, certain eye and mouth tests, blood tests, and biopsies.

Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms. It can differ for each person; it depends on what parts of the body are affected. It may include artificial tears for dye eyes and sucking on sugar-free candy or drinking water often for a dry mouth. Medicines may help with severe symptoms.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Symptoms of Sjogren's Syndrome

The following features are indicative of Sjogren's Syndrome:
  • dry eyes
  • dry mouth
  • joint pain, swelling and stiffness
  • swollen salivary glands
  • skin rashes
  • vaginal dryness
  • persistent dry cough
  • prolonged fatigue
It is possible that Sjogren's Syndrome shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Sjogren's Syndrome

The following are the most common causes of Sjogren's Syndrome:
  • genetic factors
  • hormonal factors
  • microchimerism of fetal cells
  • environmental factors such as glandular viral infection

Risk Factors for Sjogren's Syndrome

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Sjogren's Syndrome:
  • people older than 40
  • females
  • rheumatic disease

Prevention of Sjogren's Syndrome

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Sjogren's Syndrome. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • increasing the indoor humidity
  • increasing the fluid intake
  • stimulating the saliva flow

Occurrence of Sjogren's Syndrome

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Sjogren's Syndrome cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Widely occurring between 500K - 1 Million cases

Common Age Group

Sjogren's Syndrome can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Sjogren's Syndrome can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Sjogren's Syndrome

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Sjogren's Syndrome:
  • Blood tests: To check the blood count and presence of antibodies common in Sjogren's syndrome
  • Schirmer tear test.: To measure the dryness of eyes
  • Sialogram: To see how much saliva flows into your mouth
  • Salivary scintigraphy: To test how radioactive isotope injected travelled quickly in all salivary glands

Doctor for Diagnosis of Sjogren's Syndrome

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Sjogren's Syndrome:
  • Rheumatologist

Complications of Sjogren's Syndrome if untreated

Yes, Sjogren's Syndrome causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Sjogren's Syndrome is left untreated:
  • dental cavities
  • yeast infections
  • blurred vision
  • corneal ulcers

Procedures for Treatment of Sjogren's Syndrome

The following procedures are used to treat Sjogren's Syndrome:
  • Surgery: To seal the tear ducts that drain tears from your eyes

Self-care for Sjogren's Syndrome

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Sjogren's Syndrome:
  • Use artificial tears: Helps in relieving the discomfort of dry eyes
  • Increase humidity: Reduces the exposure to blowing air helps in keeping your eyes from getting dry
  • Increase the fluid intake: Helps to reduce dry mouth
  • Try artificial saliva: Helps your mouth to stay moist for longer time
  • Use nasal saline spray: Helps in moisturizing and clearing the nasal passages

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Sjogren's Syndrome

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Sjogren's Syndrome:
  • Acupuncture: Improves the key symptoms such as dryness, pain and fatigue

Time for Treatment of Sjogren's Syndrome

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Sjogren's Syndrome to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Sjogren's Syndrome.

Related Topics

Arthritis
Dry Mouth
Tears

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