The protection of the skin and the mucous membranes that cover our body is mainly due to the humidity produced by some of the different structures that are part of the body: in our skin, they are the salivary sweat; in the eyes the lacrimal glands, and in the mouth is the salivary glands.
Sometimes the secretions of these organs are diminished or disappear, resulting in a series of inconveniences. One of these diseases is Sjögren’s syndrome, which can produce very uncomfortable symptoms for people who suffer from it. If you are interested in knowing more about Sjögren’s syndrome: what it is, symptoms and treatment, at FastlyHealwe invite you to read this article. We will explain everything you need to know about this condition.
Table of Contents
Causes of Sjögren’s syndrome
One of the systems of our body is the immune system, which is responsible for defending our body from the invasion of microorganisms, destroying them before they can increase and produce symptoms. However, sometimes our immune system cannot recognize some tissue cells as its own, which is why it attacks them and causes their destruction, created by this mechanism a set of diseases known as autoimmune.
One of these autoimmune diseases is Sjögren’s syndrome (or dry syndrome), in which the immune system attacks the exocrine glands, which are the ones that produce the different secretions in our organs. Some of the glands affected by Sjögren’s syndrome are the lacrimal, sweat, and salivary glands, which have the most common symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome.
Although it is unknown why the immune system attacks our cells in Sjögren’s syndrome, it could be related to an invasion of viruses in the affected cells or a genetic predisposition, and many times it is related to the appearance of other autoimmune diseases.
Symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome
The main symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome are caused by decreased tear and salivary secretion:
- Xerophthalmia: It is the dryness of the eyes due to the destruction of the cells of the salivary glands. Due to the poor lubrication of the eyes, other symptoms appear, such as excessive sensitivity to light, burning or pain in the eyes when blinking, and a feeling of discomfort.
- Xerostomia: It decreases saliva production, causing a dry mouth. It is accompanied by a constant thirst, difficulty in chewing and swallowing due to poor lubrication, pain and burning, bad breath ( halitosis ), and the appearance of tooth decay and periodontal diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. In the following article, we will talk about dry mouth, also known as xerostomia.
Other symptoms that appear with Sjögren’s syndrome can be:
- Dry skin as a result of decreased sweat production
- Intestinal problems
- Respiratory problems
- Renal problems
- Neurological symptoms
- Arthritis; is usually in the hands.
Sjögren’s syndrome treatment
A doctor determines the presence of Sjögren’s syndrome by interrogating the development of symptoms, checking the existence of antibodies that attack own cells, and noting the dryness of the eyes and mouth.
Although Sjögren’s syndrome does not currently have a cure due to its complex origin, this disease, in most cases, does not cause injuries that can be considered severe or life-threatening. Sjögren’s syndrome treatments aim to alleviate the symptoms caused by dry eyes and mouth.
- Treatment for dry eyes is based mainly on the use of artificial tears to replace the natural secretion of the glands and the application of ointments. It is also recommended the implementation of wet towels in the eyes to improve symptoms. There is often sensitivity to light, for which dark glasses can be used to make it more tolerable.
- The principle for treating dry mouth is the same: the substitution of saliva for artificial saliva, although the consumption of abundant water and the use of stimulants of saliva production, which consists of candy, lemon drops, or a medicine called pilocarpine. It is essential to reinforce oral hygiene due to the increased risk of tooth decay or periodontal disease.
In situations where other systems are affected, such as the gastrointestinal or respiratory systems, the doctor will assess the need to administer different medications, such as corticosteroids, analgesics, or even immunosuppressants.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Sjögren’s Syndrome: what it is, symptoms and treatment, we recommend that you enter our Immune system category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.