Every year on July 23rd, Sjogren’s Day is held to increase awareness and resources toward efforts to conquer the complexities of this autoimmune disease that affects the body.
Sjorgen’s Syndrome (pronounced SHOW-grins) attacks the glands that are responsible for keeping the eyes, mouth and other parts of the body lubricated. This is why dry eyes are a common symptom of the syndrome.
Sjorgen’s syndrome is a common autoimmune disorder which occurs when a person’s white blood cells attack their own organs and tissues and damage them. This disease can occur alone, or in conjunction with other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or seliac disease.
Men and women of any age or race can develop the syndrome, but it is most prevalent among women with onset usually beginning between ages 40 and 60.
The classic symptoms are:
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth
- Joint pain
Other symptoms include:
- Blurry vision
- Light sensitivity
- Gritty or burning sensation in the eyes
- Contact lens discomfort
- Dry sinuses, frequent sinus infection and nosebleeds
- Sore mouth, tongue or throat
- Dry or peeling lips
- Difficulty chewing
- Muscle pains without accompanying swelling
- Vaginal dryness
There are no known ways to prevent it, but here are some things that can help ease the symptoms
- Drink more fluids, especially water
- Chew sugarless gum or hard candies to help moisten your mouth
- Use artificial tears to moisten your eyes and prevent scarring
- Use saline spray for the nose
- Use a humidifier
- Let your doctor know the drugs you are taking as some drugs, like antihistamines, can cause dryness
- Use vaginal lubricants if needed
- Do not smoke, and avoid alcohol
If you notice these symptoms please see a doctor. For your dry eyes or other eye symptoms, contact us for more information.