Sjogren's Syndrome - Symptoms

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What are Sjögren's syndrome symptoms and signs?

Symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome can involve the glands, as above, but there are also possible effects of the illness involving other organs of the body (extraglandular manifestations).

When the tear gland (lacrimal gland) is inflamed from Sjögren's, the resulting eye dryness can progressively lead to eye irritation, decreased tear production, a "gritty" sensation, infection, and serious abrasion of the dome of the eye (cornea). Dry eyes can lead to infections of the eyes. The condition of having dry eyes is medically referred to as xerophthalmia.

Inflammation of the salivary glands can lead to mouth dryness, swallowing difficulties, dental decay, cavities, gum disease, mouth sores and swelling, and stones and/or infection of the parotid gland inside of the cheeks. Dry lips often accompany the mouth dryness. Dry mouth is medically referred to as xerostomia.

Other glands that can become inflamed, though less commonly, in Sjögren's syndrome include those of the lining of the breathing passages (leading to lung infections) and the vagina (sometimes causing pain during intercourse or recurrent vaginal infections).

Extraglandular (outside of the glands) problems in Sjögren's syndrome include fatigue, joint pain or inflammation (arthritis), Raynaud's phenomenon, lung inflammation, lymph node enlargement, and kidney, nerve, and muscle disease. A rare serious complication of Sjögren's syndrome is inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis), which can damage the tissues of the body that are supplied by these vessels.

A common disease that is occasionally associated with Sjögren's syndrome is autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto's thyroiditis), which can lead to abnormal thyroid hormone levels detected by thyroid blood tests. Heartburn and difficulty swallowing can result from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), another common condition associated with Sjögren's syndrome. A rare and serious disease that is uncommonly associated with Sjögren's syndrome is primary biliary cirrhosis, an autoimmune disease of the liver that leads to scarring of the liver tissue. A small percentage of patients with Sjögren's syndrome develop cancer of the lymph glands (lymphoma). This usually develops only after many years with the illness. Unusual lymph node swelling should be reported to the physician.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Katdog, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 03

I have burning lips, sore tongue and hot gums because of Sjogren's syndrome. My eyes are constantly blurred. I have tear duct plugs and use Restasis 3 plus times a day. It never goes away and I never have a day without it. Body aches do respond to daily SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) and Celebrex along with many supplements. Hope this helps someone.

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Comment from: Bubbles, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 10

I was diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome when I was 41, and I lost all feeling in my face. I had suffered from many eye infections and have done so over 20 years (cold sore attacking the Iris). I found all of my joints very stiff swollen and very painful. I see a specialist every 3 months. I am on Plaquenil 400 mg daily. Some days I just can't get out of bed. I am sorry to say but I took up smoking pot to relieve the pain. I have just recently lost my Left knee so I have had total knee replacement (TKR) with the next one due in 3 months' time. My doctor injects my joint on a regular basis. I am unable to work due to many reasons including long standing, long sitting and stairs. I am now walking with a walking frame. I really hope someone can find a cure for this dreadful condition. People don't understand or don't wish to understand the issues behind this disease.

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