Sjogren's syndrome is an inflammatory disease. The immune system destroys cells in exocrine glands. It occurs most often in the tear and salivary glands. It is a lifelong condition. There are two types: Primary Sjogren's syndrome—occurs alone
Secondary Sjogren's syndrome—occurs with other rheumatic conditions such as
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The causes of Sjogren's are unknown. Contributing factors may include: Viral infectionsEnvironmental factorsHeredityHormones
Factors that increase your risk for Sjogren's include: Sex: femaleAge: 40-60 years oldOther rheumatic or autoimmune diseasesCertain gene markers
Symptoms may include: Red, burning, itching, and/or dry eyesDry mouthDifficulty swallowingLoss of taste and smellDry skin, nose, throat, and/or lungsSwollen salivary glandsSevere dental cavities caused by dry mouthOral yeast infectionsVaginal drynessSkin rashesJoint
In some cases, other parts of the body are affected as well. These include: Blood vesselsThe nervous systemOrgans such as the lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and thyroid
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
You may be referred to a specialist.
Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with: Blood testsUrine tests
Your eyes may be tested. This can be done with: Schirmer testSlit-lap examination
Images may also be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with a
There is no cure for Sjogren's. No treatment can restore the ability of the glands to produce moisture.
The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms.
To help relieve dryness: Artificial tears, artificial saliva, and vaginal lubricantsPilocarpine—ocular and oral drynessCevimeline—requires less frequent dosing than pilocarpine, may cause nausea
To relieve joint and muscle pain: Aspirin
or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
To relieve inflammation/swelling: Plaquenil—antimalarial drug with anti-inflammatory propertiesSteroidsMethotrexate—a steroid-sparing agent
Mild exercise can help relieve stiffness in the joints.To help relieve dry mouth, sip liquids often and suck on sugar-free candies.Brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly. This can help to prevent cavities.Use unscented moisturizers to help relieve dry skin.
This condition is generally benign. However, people with severe cases are at increased risk for developing
non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This is a cancer of the white blood cells. Your doctor will need to monitor you for this.
There are no guidelines for preventing Sjogren's syndrome. The cause is unknown.
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http://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/Diseases_And_Conditions/Sj%C3%B6gren_s_Syndrome. Updated July 2012. Accessed August 15, 2013.
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http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/health-info/docs/0200/0220.asp. Accessed August 15, 2013.
Last reviewed August 2013 by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD; Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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