Sjogren’s syndrome: Treatment, Symptomatology and Diagnostic Methods
What is Sjogren’s syndrome?
Sjögren’s syndrome – autoimmune type pathology manifesting itself as a decrease in moisture produced in the eyes and mouth membranes. With this illness, severe dryness appears in the eyes and mouth – in pathology impacting progress, they dry out provoking the microcracks formation of on their surfaces.
In medicine, 2 types of Sjögren’s syndrome are distinguished:
- primary – syndrome development as an independent disease, not provoked by other pathologies;
- secondary – illness occurrence against the background of other similar ailments having an autoimmune nature.
Sjögren’s syndrome causes
In autoimmune disorders, certain malfunctions make the immune system identify healthy cells as hostile and attack them. Sjögren’s syndrome affects the glands producing saliva in the mouth and mucus in the eyes.
There are no specific catalysts for the pathology development, nevertheless, there are some factors having a beneficial effect on this:
- environmental condition: pollution, harmful emissions, frequent exposure to chemicals, etc;
- genetic predisposition;
- abnormal sex hormones production;
- viral infections progression.
Risk factors include the following:
- syndrome predominantly occurs in 40+ age group;
- women suffer from pathology more frequently;
- rheumatic illnesses: arthritis, etc.
Symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome
General symptomatology of Sjögren’s syndrome manifests itself as follows.
- Extreme dryness in mouth and eyes.
- Pain in joints and muscles everywhere.
- Abrupt taste changes – abnormal food cravings appear.
- Whites redness.
- Burning in the eyes, feeling like sand.
- Blurred and blurred vision.
- Difficulties in swallowing and chewing processes, sometimes when talking.
- Coughing fits, voice hoarseness.
- Skin begins to itch and becomes rough.
- Salivary glands increase in size.
- With pathology progression – loss of teeth or carious lesions.
- Dryness in the vagina.
How Sjogren’s syndrome is diagnosed
Mostly, to confirm pathology development, specialists use the following Sjogren’s syndrome diagnosis methods.
- Blood test – specific antibodies detection: ANA, anti-SSA, anti-SSB – rheumatoid factors finding.
- Biopsy – fragments of salivary gland tissue or scraping from the lip are checked for the inflammatory processes.
- Examination by an ophthalmologist, measurement of tears production level.
- Sialometry – the doctor measures how much saliva glands produce.
- Genetic factor checking – perhaps one of the patient’s relatives had this syndrome in his/her anamnesis.
Sjögren’s syndrome treatment methods
There isn’t a cure for this syndrome. Goal of treating Sjogren’s syndrome is symptomatology elimination and alleviation.
- With excessive dryness in the eyes:
- artificial tears introduction into the eyes shell – discomfort and burning elimination;
- cure with eye drops;
- silicone plugs use being inserted into the tear ducts – thus, ducts are blocked and tears are kept in the eyes;
- surgical operation – complete lacrimal ducts blocking;
- autologous serum – artificial tears creation – a unique natural substitute for tears
2. For dry mouth:
- stimulating saliva production through chewing gum and sweetened caramel candies;
- saliva substitute for pharmaceutical production: solutions, lozenges, etc.;
- meds to increase salivation.
3. Joint problems:
- painkillers to relieve ache;
- anti-inflammatory drugs: ibuprofen, etc.;
- antirheumatic meds helping, among others, reduce swelling of salivary glands;
- steroids to reduce joints and other organs inflammation;
- meds of antifungal nature – decrease in the abnormal reproduction of fungal cells in oral cavity and vagina.
When Sjögren’s syndrome occurs as a concomitant pathology, the emphasis is on eliminating the underlying disease provoking it.