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Sjögren's syndrome

Sjögren's syndrome, also known as Sjögren's disease, is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by the immune system's attack on the glands responsible for producing moisture in various parts of the body, including the eyes and mouth.

What is Sjögren's Syndrome?

Sjögren's syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease that primarily affects the body's ability to produce moisture in the eyes and mouth. It results in dry eyes and mouth but can also affect other parts of the body, leading to fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and potential damage to organs such as the lungs, kidneys, and nervous system.

Sjögren's syndrome is more common in women and can occur alone or alongside other autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus.

Symptoms of Sjögren's Syndrome

Sjögren's syndrome primarily manifests as dry eyes and mouth but can also cause:

  • Dry and irritated skin, leading to itching and redness.
  • Fatigue and a general feeling of illness.
  • Joint and muscle pain.
  • Swelling of glands around the face and neck.
  • Dry nasal and throat passages, leading to hoarseness and dry cough.
  • Dryness in the genital area, leading to pain and increased risk of fungal infections.
  • Difficulty swallowing and chewing due to dry mouth.
  • Stomach discomfort such as nausea, abdominal pain, and digestive problems.
  • Skin changes may include dryness, itching, and rashes, especially on the lower legs. Additionally, individuals with Sjögren's syndrome may experience increased sensitivity to the sun.

Sjögren's syndrome may exhibit flares, periods when symptoms worsen, followed by periods of milder symptoms. The duration and frequency of flares vary among individuals, with some experiencing short and mild flares while others have prolonged and more severe episodes of symptom exacerbation.

Causes of Sjögren's Syndrome

The exact cause of Sjögren's syndrome is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors triggering an autoimmune reaction where the immune system attacks the body's own tissues.

How Is Sjögren's Syndrome Diagnosed?

To diagnose Sjögren's syndrome, various tests and investigations are conducted. Physicians may perform physical examinations, review the patient's symptom history, and use blood tests to identify specific antibodies and inflammatory markers characteristic of the disease. Blood tests can also assess the function of affected glands and investigate any potential kidney inflammation.

Related tests and health checks

Inflammation

Inflammation


RF
Rheumatoid arthritis test

Rheumatoid factor (RF)

  • Measuring antibody levels linked to joint pain
  • blood analysis is used in the diagnosis of Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Indication for joint rheumatism

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