Sjogren's Syndrome

(Primary Sjogren's Syndrome; Secondary Sjogren's Syndrome)

Definition

Sjogren's syndrome is an inflammatory disease. The immune system destroys cells in exocrine glands. It occurs most often in the tear and salivary glands. It is a lifelong condition. There are two types:
  • Primary Sjogren's syndrome—occurs alone
  • Secondary Sjogren's syndrome—occurs with other rheumatic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis , scleroderma , or lupus
Salivary Glands
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Causes

The causes of Sjogren's are unknown. Contributing factors may include:
  • Viral infections
  • Environmental factors
  • Heredity
  • Hormones

Risk Factors

Women and people between the ages of 40-60 years old are at increased risk. Factors that increase your risk for Sjogren's include:
  • Other rheumatic or autoimmune diseases
  • Certain gene markers

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Red, burning, itching, and/or dry eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Dry skin, nose, throat, and/or lungs
  • Dental problems
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Skin rashes
  • Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue
In some cases, other parts of the body are affected as well. These include:
  • Blood vessels
  • The nervous system
  • Organs such as the lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and thyroid

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