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
Women and people between the ages of 40-60 years old are at increased risk. Factors that increase your risk for Sjogren's include: Other 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 lungsDental problemsSwollen salivary glandsVaginal 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
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
You may be referred to a specialist. You may also be referred to a dentist for an exam.
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 test to measure tear productionSlit-lamp 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.
You may be given medications to relieve: DrynessJoint and muscle painInflammation and swelling
Lifestyle changes may help to relieve symptoms. These include: Exercise to relieve stiffness in the jointsSipping liquids and sucking on sugar-free candies to relieve drynessGood oral hygiene and regular dental checkupsUsing unscented moisturizers to help relieve dry skin
People with severe cases of this syndrome are at increased risk for developing cancers such as
. 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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Last reviewed December 2014 by Kari Kassir, 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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