Sjogren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s white blood cells attack the moisture producing glands. Some symptoms of Sjogren’s are dry mouth and dry eyes. Patients may also have symptoms of fatigue, joint pain and the disease can cause many other organ complications. 4,000,000 Americans suffer from Sjogren’s Syndrome and nine out of ten patients are women. It affects every racial and ethnic group. The disease can mimic other autoimmune disorders and so it can be misdiagnosed or missed. It is not an easy disease to diagnose and can take many years for a definitive diagnosis to be made. The treatment for Sjogren’s Syndrome is supportive and generally symptomatic. There is no cure but there are newer medications which may help with some of the symptoms. Moisture replacement therapies such as artificial tears can help to reduce the symptoms of dry eyes. Sjogren’s is a complicated condition and can have other complications not mentioned here. The symptoms and disease activity varies widely. It is important to seek a rheumatologist’s assistance in the management of this autoimmune disease in order to have the best outcome possible.
Author: Norman B. Gaylis, M.D., F.A.C.P., M.A.C.R.