Must Know Facts about Sjogren’s syndrome

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Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that occurs mostly in women and signs of this disease usually show up after people reach the age of 40. It is rarely found in children. While the immune system is supposed to protect the body from harmful diseases by attacking harmful foreign entrants, when Sjogren’s syndrome takes place, the body’s immune system attacks parts of one’s own body.

Here are some fascinating facts about the Sjogren’s syndrome.

  • Doctors account Sjogren’s syndrome to be possibly caused due to genes and exposure to a certain kind of bacteria or virus.

  • Typical symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome include dry eyes and mouth as a result of the attacking of glands that produce tears and saliva by the immune system. While these are the primary symptoms, other related signs could include dry skin, thyroid problems, chronic dry cough, skin rashes, dry skin, vaginal dryness, numbness and tingling in arms and legs, feeling of fatigue etc.

  • Blood tests, eye and mouth tests, physical examination and medical history are some of the ways used by doctors to diagnose Sjogren’s syndrome in a person. In some cases, a urine test or chest X-ray may also be recommended.

  • Sjogren’s syndrome attacks different parts of the body for different people and hence treatment varies slightly according to the nature and area of problem and will focus on getting rid of the symptoms.

  • Joint and muscle pain medicines for Sjogren’s syndrome include painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen.

  • In cases of inflammation, corticosteroids are prescribed to the patient.

  • Dry mouth is found in most people diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome and they are recommended to chew sugar-free gum or suck hard on sugar-free candy, sip water at regular intervals and use specific oral medicines to enable the mouth to produce more saliva.

  • There are several medicines like those prescribed for blood pressure, allergies, diuretics, diarrhoea, depression etc. that cause dryness in the mouth and eye. Doctors may ask you to stop these medications if you’re diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome.

  • Statistics reveal that an average of 400,000 people in 3.1 million people is diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome. It also tends to affect women 10 times more than it affects men.

  • People diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome are often those who already suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or any other connective tissue related disease.

  • In some complicated cases of Sjogren’s syndrome, a patient may suffer from cavities and tooth loss which is why patients are recommended to go for regular dental check-ups, especially when diagnosed with this disease.

  • Even rarer complications of Sjogren’s syndrome found in some patients have resulted in increased risk of cancer of the lymphatic glands.

Not much is known about Sjogren’s syndrome yet and studies and research are being carried on in this field to ensure proper treatment of patients. Genes and gene therapy can help in removing defective genes causing Sjogren’s syndrome while research is also being done in treating skin problems, working and secretion of hormones, developing medication to help glands produce moisture and help the immune system of the body. Regular medical care and check-ups are essential for all patients suffering from Sjogren’s syndrome.

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