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Sjogren's Syndrome – What is it? How do you get it? What can you do to prevent and to treat it?

What is Sjogren’s Syndrome?

Sjorgren’s syndrome is an odd name for a syndrome of the mouth (and the eyes). It is actually named after Henrik Sjogren, a Swedish ophthalmologist, who was the first person to diagnose it in patients that were suffering from it. In case you are wondering how it is pronounced, it’s pronounced as: “SHOW-gren’s.”

Sjorgren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that is rather odd, and also that is quite rare. It’s characterized by the white blood cells in the body mistakenly attacking the healthy cells in the body, particularly focused upon the secreting glands that produce moisture. Since it attacks these secreting glands, it’s often the cause of severe dry mouth and other dental issues like gum disease.
Sjorgren’s syndrome
Sjorgren’s syndrome  

It’s estimated by medical experts that anywhere from 1-4 million people in the United States suffers from Sjorgren’s syndrome. Around 90% of people who have been diagnosed with Sjorgren’s syndrome are women. While Sjorgren’s syndrome has the ability to show signs during any age, it’s generally not apparent – or its symptoms are not apparent – until the 40s to mid-40s.

However, it can occur during any age in a person’s life, but is most often diagnosed during the latter or middle years. In some cases, Sjorgren’s syndrome is related to other chronic syndromes or conditions, such as: cirrhosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and scleroderma.

What Causes Sjogren’s Syndrome?

Sjorgren’s syndrome is an autoimmune syndrome. The white blood cells in the body mistakenly attack the healthy cells, as opposed to attacking the infiltrating viruses and bacteria. With Sjorgren’s syndrome, the white blood cells specifically attack the healthy cells in the secreting glands in the body, most often the eyes, and in and around the mouth and nose.

This can cause severe dry mouth and dry eyes, decreased saliva production, and dry gums, cheeks and tongue. There is no known cure for Sjorgren’s syndrome as of yet. The most often prescribed medications are artificial saliva producers – which can also be found over the counter, in lesser potent formulas.

The main problem that Sjorgren’s syndrome presents to good oral hygiene is that due to the lack of saliva production – which is a natural antibacterial agent that protects the mouth – the mouth is far less capable of defending itself against infiltrating bacteria, which means that those who suffer from Sjorgren’s syndrome have to nearly double their efforts to combat bacterial growth in the mouth that contributes to gum disease, loose teeth, tooth decay and tooth loss.

Sjogren’s Syndrome Signs & Symptoms

It can be difficult to diagnose Sjorgren’s syndrome because the symptoms often are similar or related to other diseases. However there are some classic signs of Sjorgren’s syndrome that you should be aware of.

The only way to actually know for certain if you may or may not have Sjorgren’s syndrome is by seeing a medical expert, and receiving a thorough examination and proper diagnoses.

Common signs of Sjorgren’s syndrome:

Risks Associated with Sjogren’s Syndrome

There are numerous risks that are associated with Sjogren’s Syndrome. They can include the dysfunction of other vital organs in the body, such as the liver, blood vessels, central nervous system, gastrointestinal system and pancreas. People who suffer from Sjogren’s Syndrome are generally also prone to severe fatigue.

Aside from that, since the mouth lacks the proper production of saliva – which is the primary defense against bacterial infections in the mouth that contribute to gum disease – Sjogren’s Syndrome can also wreak havoc on the overall oral health of the sufferer.

Leading Risks Associated with Sjorgren’s Syndrome:

How to Prevent Sjogren’s Syndrome?

It is thought that Sjogren’s Syndrome is actually hereditary. Since there is no known cure for Sjogren’s Syndrome as of yet, there is not really a way that one can prevent it from occurring; you will either get Sjogren’s Syndrome, or you will not. By taking excellent care of your mouth, and by adhering to a strict oral hygiene regiment, you can best treat the symptoms associated with Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Treatments Available for Sjogren’s Syndrome

Depending upon how far Sjogren’s Syndrome has progressed with you, the treatments may vary, as well as their associated costs. Generally, the blood will be tested to check for the following: ANA (Anti-Nuclear Antibody), RF (Rheumatoid Factor), SS-A (or Ro) and SS-B (or La) and IGs (Immunoglobulins). Depending upon the results, your doctor may prescribe certain medications to treat Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Other treatments for Sjogren’s Syndrome:

Our Recommendation

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