This is an autoimmune disease. The body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own moisture producing glands. The syndrome strikes as many as 4,000,000 Americans and is one of the most prevalent autoimmune disorders, primarily women, although it occurs in both women and men. The late 40s is an average age of onset, although the syndrome occurs in all age groups.
Sjogren's syndrome occurs alone about 50% of the time, and occurs in the presence of another connective tissue disease about 50% of the time. There are four common diagnoses that co-exist with Sjogren's syndrome, they are:
Sjogren's syndrome affects the entire body in all instances. The hallmark symptoms are:
This syndrome may also cause dryness of other organs such as the kidneys, GI tract, blood vessels, lung, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system Debilitating fatigue and joint pain is also experienced. Some people may experience mild symptoms, while other people suffer debilitating symptoms. Symptoms are known to plateau, get worse, and even go into remission.
To prevent complications, early diagnosis and treatment are very important. The symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome are the same as those of other diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis. Dry eyes and mouth can also occur for other reasons, such as a side effect of medicines like anti-depressants or high blood pressure medicine.
All the symptoms are not always present at the same time. Sjogren's syndrome involves several body systems that physicians and dentists sometimes treat each symptom individually and do not recognize that a systemic disease is present.
What is the average time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis?
What specialist primarily has the responsibility for diagnosing and managing Sjogren's syndrome?
If Sjogren's syndrome is suspected, what kind of test is ordered?
The patient may likely be referred to an ophthalmologist and an oral pathologist or dentist for additional procedures.
An ophthalmologist may order:
A dentist may order:
It is extremely important to obtain an early diagnosis and high quality professional dental and eye care.
Many of the symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome can be treated with over-the-counter drugs as well as non-medication procedures such as use of a humidifier and protective devices like goggles.
Some over-the-counter products include:
There are prescription products such as Lacriserts to alleviate dry eyes and Salagen to treat dry mouth.
Sjogren's syndrome is serious but generally not fatal. There is no cure.
Source: Sjogren's syndrome Foundation
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All health concerns should be addressed by a qualified health care professional.
This article is FREE to publish with the resource box.
Author: Connie Limon. Visit http://smalldogs2.com/NutritionHealthHub and sign up for a weekly nutrition and health tip. The article collection is available as FREE reprints for your newsletters, websites or blog. For a variety of FREE reprint articles on various topics rarely seen elsewhere visit http://www.camelotarticles.com