- Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that is characterized by dry eyes and a dry mouth. Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system, which normally fights against diseases and infections, attacks healthy tissues by mistake. In Sjogren’s syndrome, the immune system destroys the glands that secrete tears and saliva first. Sjogren’s syndrome is a progressive disorder. If not properly managed, the disorder may eventually damage other tissues in the body, including the nervous system, kidneys, lungs, and skin.
- Sjogren’s syndrome is divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Both forms occur with similar frequency. Primary Sjogren’s syndrome occurs by itself. No other autoimmune disorders are present in patients with primary Sjogren’s syndrome. Secondary Sjogren’s syndrome occurs when the condition occurs in combination with other autoimmune disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), scleroderma, or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Sjogren’s syndrome can develop at any age. However, most people are diagnosed when they are 40 years of age or older. Women are about nine times more likely to develop the condition than men, estimates the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
- There is currently no known cure for Sjogren’s syndrome. Instead, treatment focuses on relieving symptoms of the disorder. Patients with primary Sjogren’s syndrome rarely experience any organ involvement and usually have normal life expectancies. However, the prognosis for patients with secondary Sjogren’s syndrome depends on the other autoimmune disorders that are present.
Signs and symptoms
Common symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome include dry eyes, dry mouth, enlarged salivary glands (called the parotid glands), fatigue, dental cavities, difficulty swallowing or chewing, hoarseness, changes in the sense of taste, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, corneal ulcers, skin rash or dry skin, dry cough, vaginal dryness, oral yeast infections, and joint pain or stiffness.
How can we help?
There is currently no known cure for Sjogren’s syndrome. However, symptoms of the disorder can be managed with treatment. In fact, patients with primary Sjogren’s syndrome who receive treatment rarely experience any organ involvement and usually have normal life expectancies. However, the prognosis for patients with secondary Sjogren’s syndrome depends on the other autoimmune disorders that are present
The most common approach we take are assessing gastro intestinal health, looking at leaky gut undetected bacterial or viral infections and very commonly, undiagnosed gluten sensitivity. It is this gluten sensitivity that is driving many inflammatory and auto immune conditions currently and there is now specific testing available from Cyrex labs in the USA that can accurately measure this gluten sensitivity. An autoimmune disease diet will normally consist of the avoidance of foods that trigger symptoms.
Food intolerance testing can help in removal of foods that are adding an additional burden to the bodies immune system