Sjogren's syndrome is an inflammatory disease. The immune system destroys cells in exocrine glands. It occurs most often the tear and salivary glands. It is a lifelong condition. There are two types:
The causes of Sjogren's are unknown. Contributing factors may include:
Factors that increase your risk for Sjogren's include:
Symptoms may include:
In some cases, other parts of the body are affected as well. These include:
Anti Ro antibodies are often present with Sjogren's. These may cross to the baby during pregnancy. In some cases, they can cause neonatal lupus or infant heartblock.
This disease can affect many areas on your body. You may have to see several specialist before a final diagnosis is made. Dry eyes and mouth also increase with age. They can also be caused by medicine. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:
There is no cure for Sjogren's. No treatment can restore the ability of the glands to produce moisture. Patients with Sjogren’s have an increased incidence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They should be screened aggressively. The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms.
To help relieve dryness:
To relieve joint and muscle pain:
To relieve inflammation / swelling:
This condition is generally benign. However, people with severe cases are at increased risk for developing lymphoma. This is a cancer of the white blood cells. Your doctor will need to monitor you for this.
American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association
Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation
Alberta Health and Wellness
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Last reviewed December 2011 by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Last Updated: 12/30/2011