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Alternative Names Return to topXerostomia-Sjogren syndrome; Keratoconjunctivitis sicca-Sjogren's
Definition Return to top
Sjogren syndrome is an autoimmune disorder in which the glands that produce tears and saliva are destroyed. The condition may affect many different parts of the body, including the kidneys and lungs.
Causes Return to top
The cause of Sjogren syndrome is unknown. The syndrome occurs most often in women ages 40 - 50. It is rare in children. Young patients usually have signs of another autoimmune disorder first.
The syndrome may be associated with:
Sjogren syndrome affects about 1 - 4 million people in the United States.
Symptoms Return to top
Dryness of the mouth and eyes are the most common symptoms of this syndrome.
Mouth and throat symptoms:
Other symptoms may include:
Exams and Tests Return to top
A physical examination reveals dry eyes and mouth. There may be mouth sores because of the mouth dryness.
Treatment Return to top
The goal is to relieve symptoms. Dry eyes may be treated with artificial tears, eye-lubricating ointments, or cyclosoporine liquid. Tiny plugs can be placed in the tear drainage ducts to help the tears stay on the surface of the eye.
Disease modifying drugs (DMARDs) similar to those used for rheumatoid arthritis may improve the symptoms of Sjogren syndrome. These include tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibiting drugs.
Sipping water throughout the day and chewing sugarless gum may help relieve mouth dryness. Avoid medicines that can cause mouth dryness such as antihistamines and decongestants. Avoid alcohol.
Talk with your dentist about:
Frequent brushing and flossing of the teeth, and regular dental visits may prevent severe dental cavities caused by dry mouth.
Arthritis symptoms are commonly treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and physical therapy.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The disease is usually not life-threatening. The outcome depends on what other diseases you have.
There is an increased risk of lymphoma.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you develop symptoms of Sjogren syndrome.
References Return to top
Kruszka P, O'Brian RJ. Diagnosis and management of Sjogren syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 2009;79:465-470.
Taubert M, Davies MR, Black I. Dry Mouth. BMJ. 2007;334:534.Update Date: 5/31/2009 Updated by: Mark James Borigini, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.