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Sjogren's Syndrome

What is Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren’s syndrome, similar to rheumatoid arthritis, is a chronic autoimmune disease whereby the body’s white blood cells starts attacking the exocrine glands, especially the lacrimal and salivary glands which are responsible for secreting tears and saliva respectively. Sjogren’s syndrome could also affect other parts of the body, such as experiencing rashes and pain in the joints due to the inflammation of blood vessels. It could lead to inflammation vital organs such as the lungs and kidneys.

There are 2 major classifications of people suffering from Sjogren’s syndrome.

  • Primary Sjogren’s Syndrome

    This indicates that a patient suffering from Sjogren’s syndrome is solely suffering from it.
  • Secondary Sjogren’s Syndrome

    This indicates that a patient could have developed Sjogren’s syndrome in conjunction with other connective tissue disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
  • It is often difficult to properly diagnose a person suffering from Sjogren’s syndrome. The symptoms take long to develop and they usually evolve overtime as well. It takes an average of 6 years, from the time of the first symptom to accurate diagnosis, to accurately diagnose Sjogren’s syndrome.

    Listed below are some of the signs and symptoms.

  • Dryness / itchiness of the eyes
  • Dryness of the throat
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Loss of voice
  • Pain in the joints
  • Swelling and inflammation of joints
  • Listed below are some of the risks factors.

  • Genetic Factors

    Patients with a family history of autoimmune disorders have a higher predisposition of developing Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • Hormonal Factors

    Women are more likely to develop Sjogren’s syndrome due to the presence of the female sex hormone, estrogen.
  • Environmental Factors

    Exposure to mutagens could increase one’s risk in developing Sjogren’s syndrome.
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