Sjögren's Syndrome

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Catherine Burt Driver, MD
    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.

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What causes Sjögren's syndrome?

While the exact cause of Sjögren's syndrome is not known, there is growing scientific support for genetic (inherited) factors. The genetic background of Sjögren's syndrome patients is an active area of research. The illness is sometimes found in other family members. It is also found more commonly in families that have members with other autoimmune illnesses, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, autoimmune thyroid disease, type I diabetes, etc. Most patients with Sjögren's syndrome are female.

What are risk factors for developing Sjögren's syndrome?

The main risk factor for the development of Sjögren's syndrome is being a member of a family that is already characterized as having autoimmune illnesses. This does not mean that it is predictable that a member of a family with known autoimmunity will develop the disease, only that is more likely than if there were no family members with known autoimmunity. Accordingly, it is likely that certain genes that are inherited from ancestors can predispose one to the development of Sjögren's syndrome. It should also be noted that Sjögren's syndrome can also be sporadic and occur in a person from a family with no known autoimmunity.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/26/2016

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