Sjögren syndrome is an
Xerostomia-Sjögren syndrome; Keratoconjunctivitis sicca – Sjögren; Sicca syndrome
The cause of Sjögren syndrome is unknown. It is an autoimmune disorder. This means the body attacks healthy tissue by mistake. The syndrome occurs most often in women ages 40 to 50. It is rare in children.
Primary Sjögren syndrome is defined as dry eyes and dry mouth without another autoimmune disorder.
Secondary Sjögren syndrome occurs along with another autoimmune disorder, such as:
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Dry eyes and dry mouth are the most common symptoms of this syndrome.
- Feeling that something is in the eye
Mouth and throat symptoms:
- Difficulty swallowing or eating
Loss of sense of taste
- Problems speaking
- Thick or stringy saliva
- Mouth sores or pain
Other symptoms may include:
- Change in the color of hands or feet
Joint painor joint swelling Swollen glands
Exams and Tests
A physical exam reveals dry eyes and mouth. There may be
You may have the following tests:
Schirmer’s testof tear production
antibodies( ANA) test Salivary gland biopsy Rheumatoid factor(possible) Tear test Slit lamp examinationof the eyes
The goal is to relieve symptoms.
- Dry eyes may be treated with artificial tears, eye-lubricating ointments, or cyclosoporine liquid.
- Tiny plugs can be placed in the tear drainage ducts to help the tears stay on the surface of the eye.
Disease modifying drugs (DMARDs) similar to those used for rheumatoid arthritis may improve the symptoms of Sjögren syndrome. These include tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibiting drugs such as Enbrel, Humira or Remicaide.
Some things you can do to ease symptoms include:
- Sip water throughout the day
- Chew sugarless gum
- Avoid medicines that can cause mouth dryness, such as antihistamines and decongestants
- Avoid alcohol
Talk with your dentist about:
Mouth rinses to replace minerals in your teeth
Drugs that help your salivary glands make more saliva
To prevent dental decay that can be caused by mouth dryness:
- Brush and floss your teeth often
- Visit the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings
The disease is usually not life-threatening. The outcome depends on what other diseases you have.
There is a higher risk of
- Damage to the eye
- Dental cavities
- Pulmonary infections
- Vasculitis (rare)
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms of Sjögren syndrome.