Cause Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment
Sjogren’s Syndrome, is an autoimmune disorder in which the glands that produce tears and saliva are destroyed. It typically causes dry eye and mouth, and can even affect the kidneys and lungs.
Sjogren’s syndrome, named after Dr.Henrik Sjogren who first identified it, is a chronic autoimmune disorder that usually occurs in middle aged females. In Sjogren’s syndrome, the immune cells start attacking the exocrine glands (glands which pour their secretions into a duct).Most commonly affected glands are lachrymal glands, tear glands and salivary glands.
The exact cause like other autoimmune disorders is UNKNOWN. But it seems to be related to both genetic and environmental factors. The genes responsible for causing this syndrome are HLA – DRW52, HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1. Environmental factors include recurrent infection to exocrine glands.
Sjogren’s syndrome can occur alone and in that condition it is known as SICCA Syndrome or alternatively it can be secondary to other autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arhritis, SLE, Scleroderma etc. then it is known as SECONDARY Sjogren’s syndrome.
- Dryness of body surfaces
- When lachrymal gland is involved it causes KERATOCON JUCTIVITIS (inflammation of conjunctiva and cornea. This causes dryness of the eye leading to blurred vision, itching, and redness and burning of the eye.
- When salivary gland are involved, it leads to XEROSTOMIA causing difficulty in tasting and swallowing, cracks and fissures in the mouth.
- In nose and respiratory passages it causes ulceration and perforation of nasal septum. It causes crusting and bleeding.
- When it affects larynx, it can cause difficulty in speaking.
- It can also cause dryness of skin and vagina
- It can cause swelling of glands which can compress nearby structures and nerves leading to pain.
- It can cause dryness of epithelial lining making it more prone for infections.
- Most patients present with non specific symptoms such as chronic fatigue, muscular pain, discomfort, decrease in activity etc. which can make diagnosis difficult.
Diagnosis is usually made by examination of the patient and decrease in exocrine gland secretions.
Sailometry-to measure saliva flow.
Medication usually includes steroidal treatment to suppress immune response.
Medications to enhance the secretion from exocrine glands.