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Sjogren’s syndrome: Treatment, symptoms, advice & help

About sjogren’s syndrome

Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder of characterized by lymphocytic infiltration of salivary and lachrymal glands, leading to glandular fibrosis and exocrine failure.

Sjogren’s syndrome: Incidence, age and sex

It is a rare disease affecting about 0.3 % of our population. The age of onset is usually in the fourth and fifth decades with a female: male ratio 9:1.

Signs & symptoms of sjogren’s syndrome: Diagnosis

The eye symptoms (keratoconjuctivitis sicca) are due to a lack of tears and lubrication. Oral involvement typically leads to dry mouth with the patient needing water to swallow food, and dental caries. The other common clinical features are non-erosive arthritis, Raynaud’s phenomenon tiredness. The less common features include a low-grade fever, interstitial lung disease, anaemia, leucopenia, thrombocytopenia, cryoglobulinaemia, peripheral neuropathy, and enlargement of lymphnodes.

Causes and prevention of sjogren’s syndrome

The disease may be primary or secondary in association with other autoimmune disease such as RA, SLE, thyroditis or primary biliary cirrhosis.

Sjogren’s syndrome: Complications

The disease is associated with a 40- fold increased lifetime risk of lymphoma.

Sjogren’s syndrome: Treatment

Artificial tears such as hypomellose should be used during the day in combination with a viscous lubricating ointment at night. Soft contact lenses can be useful for corneal protection in patients with filamentary keratitis. Artificial saliva and oral gels can be tried for dry mouth. Stimulation of saliva flow by sugar – free chewing gum or lozenges may be helpful. Adequate oral hygiene and prompt treatment of oral candidiasis are essential.

Extraglandular manifestations may respond to corticosteroids and if so, other immunosuppressive drugs.