What is Sjogren’s syndrome?

Sjogren’s syndrome is a common autoimmune disorder that attacks moisture-producing glands of the body, such as the glands that produce tears and saliva. In an autoimmune disorder, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. In Sjogren’s syndrome, inflammation caused by this attack affects the glands’ ability to secrete moisture and mucus normally.

Sjogren’s syndrome can affect the glands in the eyes, mouth, throat, nose, airways, skin, digestive system, and vagina. In some cases, Sjogren’s syndrome can attack areas throughout the body, such as the lungs, kidneys, joints, blood vessels, and nervous system.

Symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome are due to abnormal dryness of the affected glands and organs. Typical symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome include dry eye, dry cough, dry mouth, and poor oral and dental health.

There are two types of Sjogren’s syndrome, primary and secondary. Primary Sjogren’s syndrome occurs in the absence of other autoimmune disorders. Secondary Sjogren’s syndrome occurs with other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and is generally more serious than primary Sjogren’s syndrome. Secondary Sjogren’s syndrome is more likely than primary Sjogren’s syndrome to lead to complications.

Sjogren’s syndrome cannot be cured, but it can be treated to minimize symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Treatment can include a combination of medication, good oral hygiene, and possibly surgery.

Serious complications, such as liver disease and lung disease, can occur with Sjogren’s syndrome, especially secondary Sjogren’s syndrome.  

Seek prompt medical care if you have symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome, such as dry mouth and dry cough. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the risk of complications.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome?

Symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome are the result of damaged moisture-producing glands and can affect the eyes, mouth, throat, nose, airways, skin, digestive system, and vagina. In some cases, symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome can affect organs throughout the body, such as the lungs, kidneys, joints, blood vessels, and nervous system.... Read more about sjogrens syndromesymptoms

CAUSES

What causes Sjogren’s syndrome?

The cause of Sjogren’s syndrome is not known, but it is believed that this autoimmune disorder may be triggered by a viral infection or a bacterial infection. Genetic factors may also play a role in Sjogren’s syndrome. Research indicates that the presence of certain genes may make you more susceptible to the abnormal immune process when confronted with an environmental trigger, such as a viral infection.... Read more about sjogrens syndromecauses

TREATMENTS

How is Sjogren’s syndrome treated?

There is no cure for Sjogren’s syndrome, but with early recognition and treatment, it is possible to decrease symptoms and minimize the risk of complications. Treatment for Sjogren’s syndrome varies depending on the type of Sjogren’s syndrome, the severity of symptoms, the presence of complications, a person’s age and medical history, and other factors. Treatment plans use an individualized, multifaceted approach that may include:... Read more about sjogrens syndrometreatments

Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian MD Last Annual Review Date: Jan 8, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Allergies and the Immune System