Sjögren’s Syndrome – What is it, Symptoms and Treatments!

Sjögren’s Syndrome – What it is, Symptoms and Treatments that cannot be ignored. Furthermore, Sjögren ‘s Syndrome is an autoimmune disease that affects the glands that produce tears and saliva, causing dry eye and mouth . The disease can also affect other parts of the body, and can also cause problems with the kidneys  and lungs .

In the specific case of Sjögren’s syndrome , the main targets are the lacrimal and salivary glands, causing symptoms such as dry eyes and mouth . However, the disease may not be restricted to these glands, and it may also affect other organs, such as joints , kidneys , lungs , nerves, skin, liver, pancreas. Then check out  Sjögren’s Syndrome – What it is, Symptoms and Treatments.

Causes of Sjögren’s Syndrome: As with almost all autoimmune diseases, we don’t know exactly why the immune system of these patients suddenly starts to act in the wrong way, attacking the body’s own tissues and organs. We know, however, that there is a strong genetic component in its genesis, as patients with Sjögren’s syndrome have some genes in common.

However, for Sjögren’s syndrome to appear, genetic inheritance is not enough, some other environmental factors still not clarified, such as infections by certain viruses or bacteria, seem to be necessary for the immune system of genetically susceptible patients to act in a dangerous way. .

About half of patients with Sjögren’s syndrome also have another associated autoimmune disease, such as lupus  , rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Therefore, having an autoimmune disease is a risk factor for having Sjögren’s syndrome , just as having Sjögren’s syndrome is a risk factor for having other autoimmune diseases.

We classified as primary Sjögren’s syndrome cases in which there is no other associated autoimmune disease. Patients who have Sjögren’s syndrome in addition to another autoimmune disease, such as lupus  or rheumatoid  arthritis, are considered to have secondary Sjögren’s syndrome .

Other important risk factors for Sjögren’s syndrome are the female sex, since more than 90% of cases occur in women, and age, because, although the disease can appear in any age group, it is more common in people above of 40 years.

Symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome:  The two main symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome are:

  • Dry eyes, including a burning, itchy, or sand-like sensation
  • dry mouth accompanied by difficulty swallowing or speaking.

However, depending on the case, a patient diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome may also have:

  • Joint pain, swelling  and stiffness
  • swelling  of the salivary glands – particularly the joint located behind the jaw and in front of the ears
  • Rashes or dry skin
  • vaginal dryness
  • Dry and persistent cough
  •  prolonged fatigue

Treatment of Sjögren’s Syndrome: There is currently no cure for Sjögren’s syndrome . However, treatments can improve symptoms and prevent the various complications of the disease. Treatment is aimed at reducing the most bothersome symptoms.

Dry eyes  are treated with artificial tears applied regularly during the day or with gel applied at night. Eye drops that reduce inflammation  in the tear glands, such as cyclosporine (Restasis), can be used to increase tear production.

To increase salivation , the use of candy or sugar -free chewing gum  is helpful. Drinking or just wetting your mouth with sips of water during the day is also important to keep you well hydrated.

Some patients benefit from using medications that stimulate the flow of saliva, such as pilocarpine (Salagen) or cevimuline (Evoxac). As cavities  are very common, you should brush your teeth after every meal. There are already toothpastes on the market aimed at patients with dry mouth. A visit to the dentist should be made twice a year.

Hydroxychloroquine is a drug widely used in lupus  and rheumatoid arthritis, and may be useful in some patients with Sjögren’s syndrome and joint, muscle pain and/or skin lesions. In patients with systemic disease, affecting several organs, the use of immunosuppressive drugs such as corticosteroids, azathioprine, methotrexate, rituximab and cyclophosphamide may be necessary.

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