We know this is a difficult time and We want you to know we care for our patient's health and wellbeing.

Telltale Symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren’s Syndrome

In Sjogren’s syndrome, your immune system attacks the moisture-producing glands of your eyes, mouth, and other areas, causing chronic dryness. In some cases, Sjogren’s can cause serious health problems and may be life-threatening. 

Sjogren’s syndrome can be challenging to diagnose because symptoms may mimic other conditions. The specialists at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut are experienced with diagnosing conditions where your immune system attacks healthy tissue, such as Sjogren’s syndrome. Our team performs a thorough evaluation and recommends treatment once they confirm a diagnosis. 

What is Sjogren’s syndrome?

Sjogren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease. It occurs when a type of white blood cell attacks the glands that produce saliva and tears. This prevents the glands from working properly. As a result, tear and saliva production decreases, causing your mouth, eyes, skin, nose, and upper respiratory tract to become dry.

Sjogren’s is linked to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Timely treatment can reduce complications and tissue damage. Once treatment starts, most people can manage their condition well.

While Sjogren’s syndrome can occur at any age, it’s more likely to develop after age 40. It’s also more common in women. 

Telltale symptoms of Sjogren’s

The severity of Sjogren’s varies from person to person. Dry eyes and dry mouth are the most common Sjogren’s symptoms.

Dry eyes

Your eyes may feel extremely dry as a result of decreased tear production. They might itch or burn, causing excessive blinking. It can feel as though sand is lodged in your eyes. In some cases, blurred vision can occur.

Dry mouth

Because your body has trouble producing saliva, you may experience difficulty swallowing when symptoms flare up. Your mouth may feel chalky, and you may have trouble swallowing food. Many people with Sjogren’s develop cavities and oral infections.

Other symptoms

The disease can affect other parts of the body as well. You may notice dryness in your nose, throat, or skin. Sjogren's syndrome can also affect your joints, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels, digestive organs, and nerves. As a result, you may experience:

With Sjogren’s, you may also experience brain fog, muscle aches, and bouts of fatigue. 

Treating Sjogren’s 

The goal of Sjogren’s treatment is to reduce chronic dryness and prevent potentially serious complications. Common medications we use for treatment have a short-term effect and require multiple doses per day.

Artificial tears, in various forms, aid in the replacement of decreased tear production. Preservative-free artificial tears provide lubrication without irritation.

Saliva substitutes and mouth-coating gels can help relieve mouth dryness. They come in sprays, pre-treated swabs, and liquids. These are especially important at night, when your mouth becomes drier. To combat dry mouth, your provider may prescribe medication to stimulate saliva.

Your doctor may prescribe disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to treat joint pain accompanied by fatigue and rashes. Corticosteroids can reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system in cases where Sjogren's disease affects your muscles, nerves, lungs, or kidneys. 

Living well with Sjogren’s syndrome

Working closely with a specialist is key to effectively managing autoimmune conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome. If you have symptoms of Sjogren’s and are seeking evaluation, or if you have a Sjogren’s diagnosis, the Rheumatology and Allergy institute of Connecticut team can help.

Give us a call at our office in Manchester, Connecticut, where a helpful team member can assist you in scheduling a visit with one of our providers. You can also request an appointment online.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Top Tips for Managing Your Asthma

Effective asthma management requires expert guidance and an appropriate asthma action plan. With the right care and steps, you can feel in control and confident in managing your asthma. Here are our top tips.

Encouraging Facts About Sjogren’s Syndrome

Chronic dry eye can turn out to be something else. Sjogren’s syndrome often overlaps with other conditions, which can make it difficult to diagnose. A rheumatology specialist is the best person to help you get answers. Get the facts here.

Understanding Psoriatic Arthritis

Living well with psoriatic arthritis requires the help of a specialist and understanding the implications of your condition. With the right help, you can control your symptoms so you feel and function as best as possible.

Allergy Desensitization With Allergy Shots

Allergy immunotherapy is one of several treatments for allergies. Because allergy shots provide long-term relief from allergy symptoms, it’s worthwhile to speak to an allergy specialist to find out if this treatment is right for you.

Understanding Your Treatment Options for Scleroderma

Scleroderma can have a significant impact on many aspects of life, so having an expert team to help you manage issues from this autoimmune disease is crucial. A good program aims to reduce complications and provide symptom relief.

What Causes Food Allergies?

Food allergies affect adults and children of all ages. While there’s no cure for food allergies, you can manage food allergies by staying vigilant in avoiding the offending food.