Sjogrens Syndrome: What is it?
Sjogrens syndrome, pronounced show-grins, is a chronic immune system disorder. It is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the healthy bodily tissues, particularly the glands that are responsible for the production of moisture. Examples include the salivary glands and tear glands. When these glands are damaged or scarred, this is cause for many symptoms.
Sjogrens Syndrome: What is the cause?
The cause of Sjogrens syndrome is not known, and due to this fact, there is also no known cure. However, it is expected that Sjogrens syndrome is caused by a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. Sjogrens syndrome is often associated to have at least a genetic predisposition because it tends to run in families. It is also expected that female sex hormones have a role in the development of Sjogrens syndrome, as it is almost 9 times more likely to affect women than men.
Sjogrens Syndrome: What are the symptoms?
There are many symptoms associated with Sjogrens syndrome. However, these symptoms typically must persist for long periods of time, usually around three months. Diagnosis is confirmed by the use of an antibody test. Many of these symptoms are also correlated with the use of specific drugs, including antihistamines and antidepressants, and hence it is important to provide your physician with a complete list of both family history and medication use. The most common symptoms are listed.
- Dry eyes: This is usually accompanied with a burning or redness of the eye, in addition to the feeling of sand or grit in the eye.
- Dry mouth: This is usually accompanied with trouble swallowing and chewing, due to the inadequate presence of saliva. It can also decrease the sense of taste, increase dental cavities, cause hoarseness and dry cough, and create difficulties in speaking.
- Pain: The pain is typically localized to joints and the muscles associated with those joints.
- Excessive Fatigue
- Enlarged parotid glands: These are located on the jaw where it angles and can be come enlarged as a consequence of Sjogrens syndrome.
Sjogrens Syndrome and Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Connections
Sjogrens syndrome is often developed as a secondary condition. This means that it is a symptom of another condition. Sjogrens syndrome is a disease that can be caused by the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is the cause for the development of the majority of secondary Sjogrens syndrome cases.
Sjogrens Syndrome: How common is it?
Sjogrens syndrome is known to currently affect over one million individuals throughout the United States. Sjogrens syndrome is more commonly diagnosed in women than men. In fact, nearly 90% of all reported Sjogrens syndrome afflicts women. It is more common in Caucasion women between the ages of 40-60. However, it is capable of affecting any race, gender, or age. Secondary Sjogrens syndrome due to rheumatoid arthritis is responsible for approximately half of all diagnosed cases. Secondary Sjogrens syndrome due to lupus is responsible for approximately another 20% of all diagnosed cases. Sources: http://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/arthritis-sjogrens-syndrome http://arthritis.webmd.com/tc/sjogrens-syndrome-topic-overview