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The Link Between Sjogren’s Syndrome and Infections: What You Need to Know

Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that most commonly affects women over the age of 40 (although the condition also affects men and can develop at any age). An autoimmune disease is a classification of disorders that occurs when a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. While a clear cause for the development of Sjogren’s Syndrome has been a mystery for the most part, there is evidence that genetics and heredity often play a role. However, a recent study out of the The University of Western Australia and the Lions Eye Institute has found a potential link between chronic viral infections and the onset of Sjogren’s Syndrome in some patients.

Chronic Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

CMV is a fairly common viral infection related to the herpes virus that typically produces mild flu symptoms and is fairly benign in otherwise healthy people. However, researchers found that in patients with compromised immune systems, CMV has the potential to act as a pathway to autoimmune disorders like Sjogren’s Syndrome.

“In our model of SS we have been able to dissect the exact cellular and molecular mechanisms that lead to the development of this common autoimmune disease. We have now gained critical insights into the pathways that need to be targeted to provide improved treatments for a common and debilitating human condition,” said Professor Mariapia Degli-Esposti of the study.

Symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome

The most common symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth. The decreased tear and saliva production can cause itching, burning, and a gritty sensation in the eyes, as well as the “cotton mouth” effect that can make it difficult to speak and swallow.

Additional symptoms of SS include :

Treatment for Sjogren’s Syndrome

Treatment for SS involves symptom management. Depending on the patient and severity of the condition, the most common treatment options are pharmaceutical drugs to help with tear and saliva production, and the use of NSAIDs if the condition progresses and the patient develops arthritis-like symptoms.

Contact a Board-Certified Rheumatologist in Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills rheumatologist Dr. Susan A. Baker is an expert in providing an accurate diagnosis and offering effective, individualized treatment plans for rheumatic and autoimmune disorders. If you are experiencing symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome, or would like a second opinion for a previous diagnosis, contact Dr. Baker today at (310) 274–7770 to schedule an appointment.

Next, read about What Everyday Activities Can Prevent Osteoporosis?

Next, learn about the link between Sjogren’s Syndrome and Infections

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