Sjogren’s Syndrome is an annoying and potentially dangerous condition characterized by general dryness.
What is Sjogren’s Syndrome?
Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease and primarily appears as a general dryness of the eyes and mouth. The moisture-producing glands of the body are very important, as that moisture can often help the body rid itself of toxins and foreign substances.
Autoimmune diseases come in a wide array of forms and can have very unusual symptoms and manifestations. Sjogren’s syndrome is no different and primarily appears as a general dryness of the eyes and mouth. The moisture-producing glands of the body are very important, as that moisture can often help the body rid itself of toxins and foreign substances.
The cause of the condition is not specifically known, but it is widely believed to result from genetic and environmental factors. As with all autoimmune diseases, the body’s immune system essentially begins attacking healthy cells, and the subsequent inflammation in those moisture-producing glands can damage the glands permanently, making it difficult for them to secrete fluids to those parts of the body.
A secondary version of this syndrome can also arise as a side effect of a bacterial or a viral infection, or as a secondary symptom of another autoimmune disease.
While dryness of the eyes and mouth doesn’t seem like the end of the world, as with many autoimmune diseases, the condition can worsen, resulting in more extreme symptoms and a serious impact on quality of life.
Some of the other common symptoms of Sjogren’s include:
- Dry skin
- Numbness in the arms and legs
- A dry cough
- Vaginal dryness
- Thyroid problems
- General joint pain
However, if the symptoms become more serious, people can usually get a blood test to reveal higher levels of antibodies that are commonly associated with the syndrome.
A lip or salivary gland biopsy can also show high levels of lymphocytes, which will form near damaged salivary glands caused by this syndrome. Once the diagnosis is made, however, the treatment must begin.