Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that mainly affects the eyes and salivary glands. Cells that make up the immune system called lymphocytes and autoantiboties attack the body’s moisture-producing glands. The result is dry mouth, eyes or other tissues.
Women are most commonly affected by Sjogren’s syndrome. It is not usually life-threatening and although there is no cure, the disorder can be managed. It is unknown what prompts the immune system to attack the tear and salivary glands and around half of the people diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome also have rheumatological conditions such as scleroderma, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. This is known as secondary Sjogren’s syndrome.
In some cases, Sjogren’s syndrome occurs in isolation and this is known as primary Sjogren’s syndrome.
Sjogren’s syndrome is a systemic disease which affects the entire body. It can be mild, moderate or severe. It can progress unpredictably and some people experience a remission of symptoms.
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