Sjögren syndrome

Definition

Sjögren syndrome is an autoimmune disorder in which the glands that produce tears and saliva are destroyed. This causes dry mouth and dry eyes. The condition may affect other parts of the body, including the kidneys and lungs.

Causes

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:

Symptoms

Dry eyes and dry mouth are the most common symptoms of this syndrome.

Eye symptoms:

Mouth and throat symptoms:

Other symptoms may include:

Exams and Tests

A physical exam reveals dry eyes and mouth. There may be mouth sores because of the mouth dryness.

You may have the following tests:

Treatment

The goal is to relieve symptoms.

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:

Talk with your dentist about:

To prevent dental decay that can be caused by mouth dryness:

Outlook (Prognosis)

The disease is usually not life-threatening. The outcome depends on what other diseases you have.

There is a higher risk of lymphoma when Sjörgen syndrome has been very active for a long time.

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms of Sjögren syndrome.


Review Date: 4/20/2013
Reviewed By: Gordon A. Starkebaum, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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