Do I have Sjogren's? How can I tell?
TheraLife often get this question from our customers- how do I know if I have Sjogrens?
My doctor did all kinds of blood tests that are negative. Can you help?
Major Symptoms of Sjogren'sOne of the key hallmark of Sjogren’s is Dry Eyes, Dry Mouth. Regardless of whether your blood tests ( serology) is positive or negative.
On average, it takes 7 years to diagnose Sjogren’s.
Sjogren’s Syndrome is a condition which is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.
Awareness and recognition of Sjogren's syndrome is important.
Sjogren's StatisticsWe estimate 1 to 4 million people have the disease. Of this group, 90% are women. Sjogren's syndrome can occur at any age, but it usually is diagnosed after age 40 and can affect people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. Sjogren's syndrome is rare in children, but it can occur.
Sjogrens Syndrome is an autoimmune disease where one’s own immune system is attacking own body tissue, specifically mucus related tissues such as eyes, mouth, lungs, vaginal areas, and connective tissues resulting in inflammation of the glands and body.
Many women have the disease but do not recognize the symptoms which are similar to those of other conditions including menopause.
Symptoms Of Sjogren's Syndrome
- Dry mouth
- Dry eyes
- vaginal dryness
- dry skin
Primary Vs. Secondary Sjogren's Syndrome
- Primary Sjogren’s
When only gland inflammation and resulting dry eyes and mouth are involved the disease is known as primary Sjogren's syndrome. There can also be extraglandular problems associated with Sjogren's syndrome which may include:
- Joint pain
- lung inflammation
- enlarged lymph nodes
- kidney,, nerve, or muscle disease- Pheripheral neuropathy – burning tingling or numbing sensation of hands and feet.
2. Secondary Sjogren’s
- The disease is known as secondary Sjogren's syndrome when the gland inflammation exists in combination with another connective tissue disease or autoimmune disease such as:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- Schirmer’s test for dry eyes
- radiologic salivary scans
- salivary flow testing
- biopsy of salivary glands
- blood tests
- Sjogren's questionnaire
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A person suffering with symptoms which may be due to Sjogren's syndrome must be aware of the need for medical assessment and the treatments available. Ignoring Sjogren's syndrome symptoms prolongs the suffering. Awareness leads to available help.
People with Sjogren's syndrome have a higher risk of developing yeast infections, dental cavities, and having vision problems. Less commonly, there is also a risk of inflammation that may cause bronchitis, pneumonia and other lung problems that may lead to kidney function problems, which in turn raise the risk of hepatitis or cirrhosis in the liver. In rare cases a pregnant woman with Sjogren's syndrome may give birth to a baby with heart problems. There is also a higher risk that the baby may develop lupus.
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