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Sjögren’s syndrome: what it is and how to live with this disease

sjogren's syndrome

Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes eye and mouth problems. Let's find out why it occurs and what are the treatments.

When we talk about Sjögren's syndrome (pronounced sciogren), we mean the autoimmune disease that perceives the lacrimal and salivary glands as foreign. This causes inflammation due to the body's constant aggression towards them.
A problem that leads to an increasingly poor production of tears and saliva and, consequently, to a dryness of the eyes and mouth.
In some cases, the sweat glands or those responsible for vaginal discharge may also be involved. And, of course, the trachea and the large bronchi. It is a problem whose causes are not yet known and which therefore proves to be difficult to cure.

What are the symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome

This disease can occur in primary or secondary form.
In the first case, the sufferer does not have other autoimmune diseases . In the second case, however, there may be other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus .

sjogren's syndrome
sjogren's syndrome

Since this is a difficult disease to recognize, it is important to pay attention to every possible symptom. If not treated in time, in fact, it can lead to permanent damage to vision and the possibility of developing a tumor in the lymph glands.

Going to the symptoms, these usually show up between the ages of 40 and 60 and are mostly present in women. Among the main ones we mention:

– Caries
– Hoarse voice
– Difficulty swallowing
– Mouth infections
– Hoarseness
– Swollen salivary glands
– Burning eyes
Sensitivity to light
– Secretions from the eyes
– Eye tiredness
– Dry skin
– Vasculitis
– Perennial tiredness

When not caught in time, this disease can also lead to damage to muscles, blood vessels, nerves and, albeit rarely, organs. In the presence of symptoms, in general, the doctor prepares a series of tests aimed at understanding if there are grounds for suspecting the presence of this disease .

Among the many there are tests to be carried out by the ophthalmologist, lip biopsy, blood tests and saliva flow control. The doctor of reference for this disease is the rheumatologist who must be an expert in systemic autoimmune diseases. With his help it will be possible to prepare the right treatments to better face the disease.

How is Sjögren's syndrome treated and what are the life expectancies?

As already mentioned, there are no real cures for this disease. However, there are medications that can relieve the symptoms. To this must be added periodic checks and possible therapies which vary from person to person and which are linked to the most evident symptoms.

You can go from eye drops to greater oral hygiene care to drugs to counteract dry eyes and mouth. To all this it may be useful to associate a psychological therapy aimed at helping acceptance and coexistence with this syndrome which, having different symptoms, can be heavy and difficult to accept.

Generally, this disease is not life-threatening. However, it can lead to even serious illnesses for which it is advisable to carry out periodic checks to be agreed with the attending physician. For example, there is the possibility of developing non-Hodgkin 's lymphoma, as well as the risk of permanent damage to vision. In case of pregnancy there may be complications for the unborn child, which is why women with this disease will need to monitor their pregnancy carefully.

That said, it is still possible to lead a life with good quality. To do this, however, you will have to take better care of yourself, carry out frequent check-ups at the dentist , take care of your personal hygiene by avoiding the use of aggressive soaps or perfumes, stay away from too dry environments, avoid alcohol, use only warm water for washing and always use gloves when cleaning.

By following these precautions and the advice of the rheumatologist, life will be much easier and the various symptoms can be kept at bay without major problems.

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