Sjogren’s Syndrome

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Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system destroys moisture-producing glands, such as tear glands and salivary glands. When Sjogren's syndrome occurs by itself, it is called primary Sjogren’s syndrome. When it occurs in the context of other autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) , it is called secondary Sjogren’s syndrome. Sjogren’s is most common in women aged 40 to 60. Symptoms include dry eyes (sicca), dry mouth (xerostomia), difficulty swallowing, loss of taste and smell, swollen salivary glands, severe dental cavities caused by dry mouth, oral yeast infections (thrush), and vaginal dryness. Fatigue and joint pain may occur as well, ranging in intensity from mild to disabling. Sjogren's can also affect the kidneys, digestive tract, lungs, liver, pancreas, or other internal organs.As with other autoimmune diseases, symptoms of Sjogren’s tend to wax and wane. The disease is diagnosed by blood tests as well as examination of the eyes and mouth. Treatment primarily involves use of artificial tears, artificial saliva, and vaginal lubricants to relieve dryness. In some cases, anti-inflammatory or immune suppressant drugs may be used.

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