Volume 11 Issue 224
Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 28-Aug-2009 
Next Update - 14:00 UC 08:00 EST 29-Aug-2009

Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
© Vidyya.
All rights reserved.




  

 




Information for patients: Sjögren's Syndrome

(28 August 2009: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- What is Sjögren's Syndrome?

Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder in which immune cells attack and destroy the glands that produce tears and saliva. Sjögren's syndrome is also associated with rheumatic disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. The hallmark symptoms of the disorder are dry mouth and dry eyes. In addition, Sjogren's syndrome may cause skin, nose, and vaginal dryness, and may affect other organs of the body including the kidneys, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and brain.

What is Sjögren's Syndrome?

Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder in which immune cells attack and destroy the glands that produce tears and saliva. Sjögren's syndrome is also associated with rheumatic disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. The hallmark symptoms of the disorder are dry mouth and dry eyes. In addition, Sjogren's syndrome may cause skin, nose, and vaginal dryness, and may affect other organs of the body including the kidneys, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and brain.

Sjögren's syndrome affects 1-4 million people in the United States. Most people are more than 40 years old at the time of diagnosis. Women are 9 times more likely to have Sjögren's syndrome than men.

Is there any treatment?

There is no known cure for Sjögren's syndrome nor is there a specific treatment to restore gland secretion. Treatment is generally symptomatic and supportive. Moisture replacement therapies may ease the symptoms of dryness. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be used to treat musculoskeletal symptoms. For individuals with severe complications, corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs may be prescribed.

What is the prognosis?

Sjögren's syndrome can damage vital organs of the body with symptoms that may remain stable, worsen, or go into remission. Some people may experience only the mild symptoms of dry eyes and mouth, while others go through cycles of good health followed by severe disease. Many patients are able to treat problems symptomatically. Others are forced to cope with blurred vision, constant eye discomfort, recurrent mouth infections, swollen parotid glands, hoarseness, and difficulty in swallowing and eating. Debilitating fatigue and joint pain can seriously impair quality of life.

What research is being done?

The goals of research on disorders such as Sjögren's syndrome focus on increasing knowledge and under-standing of the disorder, improving diagnostic techniques, and finding ways to treat, prevent, and cure the disease.

Organizations

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 1968
(55 Kenosia Avenue)
Danbury, CT 06813-1968
orphan@rarediseases.org
http://www.rarediseases.org
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291

National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 6A32 MSC 2510
Bethesda, MD 20892-2510
2020@nei.nih.gov
http://www.nei.nih.gov
Tel: 301-496-5248

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Dr., Rm. 4C02 MSC 2350
Bethesda, MD 20892-2350
NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov
http://www.niams.nih.gov
Tel: 301-496-8190 877-22-NIAMS (226-4267)

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Room 5B-55
Bethesda, MD 20892
nidcrinfo@mail.nih.gov
http://www.nidcr.nih.gov
Tel: 301-496-4261

Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation
6707 Democracy Blvd.
Suite 325
Bethesda, MD 20817
tms@sjogrens.org
http://www.sjogrens.org
Tel: 800-4-SJOGREN (475-6473)
Fax: 301-530-4415

Arthritis Foundation
1330 West Peachtree Street
Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30309
help@arthritis.org
http://www.arthritis.org
Tel: 800-283-7800 404-872-7100 404-965-7888
Fax: 404-872-0457

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

Return to Vidyya Medical News Service for 28 August 2009

© Vidyya. All rights reserved.

Information appearing on the Vidyya Medical News Service is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Seek professional medical help and follow your health care provider's advice.

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