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: Heidi, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 06

I was diagnosed at 37 with Sjogren's, I am sure I had it for many years before. I now have rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. It has been getting worse and worse. I was on all kinds of medications however nothing is working. Dry eyes, dry nose, dry mouth, sensitive mouth and teeth, headaches, joint and muscle pain; face gland hurts like I have been punched, every day. Fatigue is almost always high. I nap 2 to 3 hours a day then all night or I cannot sleep at all. Brain keeps going and body says no. I hope for something to help in the future. This is not a way to live.

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Comment from: QuickDigits, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 11

I am a 65-year old female. I was diagnosed about a month ago with SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus), mixed connective tissue disease and Raynaud"s syndrome. My rheumatologist diagnosed me. The blood test was 8 pages long. My ANA was through the roof! I am grateful to finally know and understand why I"ve been feeling this way for the last 35 years. I also tested positive (with 2 tests) for Sjogren"s disease. I don"t have the typical aches and pains and joint problems, but my mouth is always dry and I must have juice or water all the time next to me. I take 5mg prednisone daily, Plaquenil 200mg twice a day and 5mg Norvasc daily. I am very new to this disease, since I have only known I have it since one month ago. I get tired very easily and don"t have much energy. I have really good medical insurance for which I am grateful to have at this time.

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