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Sjogren Syndrome

(Primary Sjogren Syndrome; Secondary Sjogren Syndrome)

How to Say It: show-GRENS Sin-drom

Definition

Sjogren syndrome is a disorder that causes the immune system to destroy the glands that make tears and saliva. There are two types:

Salivary Glands
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Causes

The cause is not known. Genetics, the environment, and hormones may play a role.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in women. It usually starts in those who are 40 to 55 years of age.

Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Certain genetic markers
  • Having other family members who have autoimmune diseases
  • Viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus

Symptoms

Problems may be:

  • Eyes that are red, burning, itching, and dry
  • Dry mouth
  • Problems swallowing
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Dry skin, nose, and throat
  • Swollen glands in the head
  • Vaginal dryness in women
  • Skin rashes
  • Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • Muscle pain
  • Lack of energy

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health 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 eyes may be tested. This can be done with:

  • Schirmer test to measure tear production
  • Slit-lamp exam

Blood tests will be done to look for antibodies linked to this syndrome.

Images of the salivary gland may be taken. This can be done with:

  • Scintagraphy
  • Sialography
  • Ultrasound

Salivary gland tissue may need to be tested. This can be done with a biopsy.

Treatment

There is no cure. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms. Choices are:

  • Medicines to ease:
    • Dryness
    • Joint and muscle pain
    • Swelling
  • Lifestyle changes, such as drinking plenty of fluids and exercising regularly

People with severe dry eye may need surgery. A plug may be placed in the tear ducts to stop fluid from draining from the eyes.

Prevention

There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem.

RESOURCES:

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.
http://www.aarda.org

Sjogren's Foundation
http://www.sjogrens.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca

MyHealth.Alberta.ca
https://myhealth.alberta.ca/

REFERENCES:

Sjogren syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/sjogren-syndrome. Accessed March 2, 2021.

Sjogren's syndrome information page. National institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Sj%C3%B6grens-Syndrome-Information-Page. Accessed March 2, 2021.

Vivino FB. Sjogren's syndrome: Clinical aspects. Clin Immunol. 2017 Sep;182:48-54.

2/22/2017 EBSCO DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/condition/sjogren-syndrome: Luciano N, Baldini, Tarantini G, et al. Ultrasonography of major salivary glands: a highly specific tool for distinguishing primary Sjögren's syndrome from undifferentiated connective tissue diseases. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2015;54(12):2198-2204.

8/1/2019 EBSCO DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/condition/sjogren-syndrome: Singh JA, Cleveland JD. The risk of Sjogren's syndrome in the older adults with gout: A medicare claims study. Joint Bone Spine. 2019 Feb 7 [Epub ahead of print].

Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD  Last Updated: 3/2/2021