Sjögren’s syndrome is a disorder of the immune system with two most common signs and symptoms being dry eyes and dry mouth.
This syndrome often accompanies other immune system disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The mucus membranes and moisture secreting glands of the patients' eyes are usually affected first, leading to low tears and saliva secretion.
This condition is not limited to a specific age; however, people over 40 years are usually the most affected.
Diagnosis of Sjogren's syndrome
Sjögren's syndrome has the same signs and symptoms as some other diseases like chronic fatigue. This makes it hard for physical analysis by doctors.
Its diagnosis involves questions like whether the eyes itch, frequency of the itching, existence of cavities in the teeth, how often lips get dry, and signs of painful joints.
Blood tests may also be required for lab analysis to check the availability of specific antibodies and their behaviours and number in the body. One is positive of the disease if the antibodies are of high levels.
Ways of Diagnosing Sjögren's syndrome
- How dry the eyes are
- Measure saliva quantities per unit time
- The appearance of the eyes under a magnifying device
- Dry spots in the eye using a dye
- The imaging test can be used to diagnose Sjögren's syndrome. This involves the use of special X-rays to check how much saliva flows in the mouth and how fast substances get to the salivary glands.
Treatment of Sjögren's Syndrome
Sjögren's syndrome is a lifetime disease that requires the patient to take medicines for the rest of his/her life. Doctors may need to switch drugs from time to time to ensure the body responds appropriately.
Artificial tears can moisten the eyes, thereby lessening the severity of the condition. These may need to be used several times throughout the day. At night, gels can be applied because they are likely to stick better, allowing for better sleep.
Punctual occlusion can also be done to manage Sjögren syndrome. Plugs are placed into the tear ducts, blocking them and preventing excess tear shed. The eyes are then able to stay moist.
Rare Symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome
Other rare Sjögren's symptoms may include fever, belly pain, rashes, lung, and kidney dysfunctions. For these conditions, routine treatment methods may work just fine, ensuring you remain stronger for longer.
Living With Sjögren's syndrome
Living with Sjögren's syndrome requires support from loved ones to help improve the quality of life. Medical treatment and careful physical handling are crucial for the patient. Making regular medical appointments is crucial in ensuring Sjögren patients live a comfortable life.
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Jamie Wood, Founder & CEO
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