Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren’s Syndrome is a immune system disorder, with the usual two symptoms – -dry eyes and dry mouth. It’s a disease that usually shows up with other autoimmune disorders, like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Healthy tissue is being attacked by your immune system if you have Sjogren’s Syndrome.

The moisture-secreting glands the eyes and mouth are usually affected first, which on the other hand results in decreased tear and saliva production. Which can also lead to difficulty swallowing, corneal ulcers or light sensitive eyes. Sjogren’s disease can damage tissue in your kidneys, liver and lungs.

Most people are older than 40 when they get diagnosed with the syndrome, but it can show up at any age. It affects nine times more females than men. Although there is no cure for Sjogren’s Syndrome, treatment can relieve some of the symptoms. It’s hard to diagnose Sjogren’s Syndrome because the symptoms are so similar to symptoms of other diseases. Furthermore, some side effects of certain medications can mimic signs of Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Symptoms and signs of Sjogren’s Syndrome:

-dry mouth
-dry eyes
-dental cavities
-fatigue
-fever
-enlarged parotid glands
-difficulty swallowing or chewing
-oral yeast infections
-hoarseness
-skin rashes
-dry skin
-dry cough
-joint pain, swelling or stiffness
-vaginal dryness
-change in sense of taste

What causes Sjogren’s Syndrome?

Sjogren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder, that means that your body attacks it’s own tissue and cells. Although it isn’t known why this happens, but it is believed that a combination of factors causes problems in your immune system. Those factors could be a bacterial or viral infection, hereditary or hormones. If you have Sjogren’s Syndrome, white blood cells attack and damage your moisture-producing glands.

There are two types of Sjogren’s Syndrome:

-primary: which occurs by itself
-secondary: which results from a rheumatic condition

Risk factors for Sjogren’s Syndrome:

-Having a rheumatic disease increases your chances of also developing Sjogren’s Syndrome
-If you are female, you have a greater chance of having Sjogren’s Syndrome (9 times higher than men)
-If you are over 40
-if you have a family history of Sjogren’s Syndrome

How can Sjogren’s Syndrome be diagnosed?

-Blood Tests: Your doctor can check your blood count, check for auto antibodies or your sendimentation rate.
-Tear Test: Doctor measures the dryness of your eyes.
-Imaging: The condition of your glands is checked with this test.
-X-rays
-Biopsy: Lip biopsy to see if any inflammatory cells are present.
-Urine Sample: to see if the Syndrome has affected your kidneys
-Slit-lamp exam: Here magnifying equipment determines how dry your eyes are and whether the outside of your eye is
inflamed.

How can it be treated?

-Corticosteriods
-Nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs
-Hydroxychloroquine
-Pilocarpine
-Immunosuppressants
-Cyclosporine
-Cevimeline
-Surgery
-use eye drops
-increase your fluid intake
-use moisturizers
-stop smoking
-protect your oral health
-increase humidity

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