In the 1930s, Swedish ophthalmologist Henrik Sjögren observed a group of women suffering from arthritis, and curiously, symptoms of dry eyes and dry mouth. After years of study, the syndrome becomes known as Sjögren’s Syndrome, named after the man who provided medical science with valuable information and knowledge regarding this autoimmune disorder.
At her Beverly Hills practice, Susan Baker, M.D. provides her patients with treatment for various rheumatologic and autoimmune disorders, including Sjögren’s Syndrome. To learn more about the condition, or to schedule a consultation at Dr. Baker’s office, please call (310) 274-7770 today.
What is Sjögren’s Syndrome?
Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder, which means that a patient’s immune system will mistakenly attack his or her own body cells. In most cases, Sjögren’s Syndrome accompanies immune system disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Although it can affect many parts if the body, the disorder is usually characterized by decreased lacrimal and salivary gland function. In other words, Sjögren’s Syndrome affects the tear and saliva glands.
Symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome
Patients suffering from Sjögren’s Syndrome typically suffer from the following two symptoms:
- Dry mouth: A lack of saliva results in difficultly speaking or swallowing. In many cases, patients experience the sensation of their mouth being full of cotton.
- Dry eyes: Sjögren’s Syndrome usually creates a feeling of irritation, grittiness, or burning within the eyes. Due to decreased tear production, patients are at a higher risk for developing infections or suffering cornea damage.
In addition, patients suffering from Sjögren’s Syndrome can experience joint pain and stiffness, skin rashes, dry cough, and prolonged fatigue. If you identify from any of these symptoms, it’s possible that you may be suffering from an undiagnosed case of Sjögren’s Syndrome.
Treatment of Sjögren’s Syndrome
Like other rheumatologic disorders, Sjögren’s Syndrome must first be diagnosed and evaluated before proper treatment can be administered. Because signs and symptoms of the disease can vary from individual to individual, it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, although there are a few ways to accurately pinpoint the condition.
When being tested for Sjögren’s Syndrome, patients may be subjected to blood tests, physical examinations, eye tests, imaging, and more. Since symptoms like dry eyes and or dry mouth may be caused by a variety of unrelated symptoms, it’s important to properly ensure that patients are suffering from Sjögren’s Syndrome before providing treatment. Blood tests will help Dr. Baker check a patient’s blood cell levels, blood glucose levels, and other indications important to the diagnosis of Sjögren’s Syndrome. If a patient is determined to be suffering from the autoimmune disorder, then treatment will begin.
Depending on the severity of Sjögren’s Syndrome in each patient, different treatment options may be used when combating the condition. To help with dry eyes, patients may be provided with eye drops, which will help inflammation around the eyes while simultaneously increasing tear production.
Medications may also be used to manage the production of saliva. Depending on a patient’s specific condition, Dr. Baker may prescribe medications/drugs that increase the production of saliva, or medications that address specific complications like arthritis.
To learn more about Sjögren’s Syndrome treatment, visit health.uconn.edu
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is a candidate for Sjögren’s Syndrome?
A: Though Sjögren’s Syndrome can affect people of any age, it’s much more common in individuals over the age of 40, and women are at a higher risk of the disease than men. If you fit the criteria and are suffering from dry eyes or dry mouth, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Baker today.
Q: Is Sjögren’s Syndrome dangerous?
A: Though its symptoms can be uncomfortable, Sjögren’s Syndrome usually has no serious complications. However, patients with the disease suffer a higher risk of developing inflammation of the eyes or dental problems due to decreased saliva production. And in many cases, Sjögren’s Syndrome accompanies other, potentially more serious, rheumatologic disorders, which is why it’s critical to be accurately diagnosed for the condition.
Q: What can I expect from my appointment with Dr. Baker?
A: When discussing Sjögren’s Syndrome with Dr. Baker, patients should write a list that includes the symptoms they are experience, information about their medical history, and any medications they may be taking. During this appointment, be sure to ask Dr. Baker any questions or concerns you may have. Having a good understanding of your experience and symptoms can help Dr. Baker provide treatment that is specialized and unique to you.
Contact Dr. Susan Baker Today
Though not often serious, Sjögren’s Syndrome can be uncomfortable and lead to serious complications if left untreated. At her Beverly Hills practice, Dr. Baker specializes in providing patients with treatment that is ideal for them. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Baker, please call (310) 274-7770 today.
Next, learn about scleroderma.