What Is Sjögren’s Syndrome?
Sjögren’s (SHOW-griens) syndrome is a systemic autoimmune disease that affects the entire body. It most often causes severe dryness in the mouth, skin and eyes. Sjögren’s syndrome can affect other parts of the body, including the joints, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels, digestive organs, and nerves.
Who Gets Sjögren’s Syndrome?
With upwards of 4,000,000 Americans suffering from Sjögren’s, it is one of the most prevalent, and under diagnosed, autoimmune diseases. Nine out of 10 patients are women. About half of the time Sjögren’s occurs alone, and the other half it occurs in the presence of another autoimmune connective tissue disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma.
What Are the Symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome?
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth (frequent cavities)
- Dry skin (sometimes with skin rashes)
- Chronic dry cough or trouble swallowing
- Thyroid problems
- Joint and muscle pain
- Vaginal dryness
- Numbness and tingling in the arms and legs
What kind of doctor treats Sjögren’s?
Rheumatologists are generally the primary doctors who manage Sjögren’s. Your optometric Physician and Dentist will also work as a team with your rheumatologist to help manage your symptoms.
Your first step…Make an appointment with your primary care optometrist for a dry eye evaluation!