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Sjogren’s Syndrome

At King’s, our physicians have decades of experience in treating Sjogren’s Syndrome and are highly skilled in managing patients with this condition.

What is Sjogren’s Syndrome?

Sjogren’s syndrome is a condition caused due to the abnormal response of the immune system. It is identified by 2 most common symptoms including a dry mouth and dryness of the eyes.

It is often accompanied by other immunological disorders, like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Why does Sjogren’s Syndrome occur?

Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys the body’s own tissues.

Sjogren’s syndrome affects the mucous membranes and the moisture-secreting glands in the mouth and eyes resulting in reduced saliva and tears.

It can also cause damage to other parts of the body like the joints, kidneys, thyroid, skin, lungs, nerves, and liver.

What are the symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome?

The common symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome include:

  • Dryness of the eyes with burning, itching, or gritty sensation as if there is sand in them
  • Dryness of the mouth with a sensation as if the mouth is full of cotton
  • Difficulty in swallowing and speaking
  • Joint pains
  • Stiffness and swelling in the joints
  • Swelling of the salivary glands
  • Prolonged fatigue
  • Skin rashes
  • Dry cough
  • Vaginal dryness

What are the risk factors for Sjogren’s Syndrome?

Sjogren’s syndrome usually affects people with one or more risk factors, such as:

  • Age: Sjogren’s syndrome is more common in people above 40 years of age.
  • Sex: Women are more likely to develop Sjogren’s syndrome than men.
  • Rheumatic disease: Patients with a rheumatic disease like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus have a higher risk of developing Sjogren’s syndrome.

Treatment of Sjogren’s Syndrome

The treatment of Sjogren’s syndrome depends on the specific tissues affected. Sipping water frequently and the use of over-the-counter eyedrops can provide significant relief from the dryness of the mouth and eyes.

Prescription medications and surgical interventions may be needed in some cases as discussed beneath:

  • Prescription eyedrops like cyclosporine and lifitegrast may be recommended for patients with severe dryness of the eyes.
  • Drugs such as pilocarpine and cevimeline can be prescribed to improve the production of saliva.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and antifungal medications can be used to relieve joint pains and fungal infections in the mouth, respectively.
  • Surgical intervention to seal the ducts of the lachrymal glands that drain tears from the eyes might be needed in some patients to relieve dryness of the eyes.

Results

Regular treatment and following a healthy lifestyle can relieve the symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome to a great extent.

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