Sjogren’s syndrome causes such generic symptoms, like dry eyes and a dry mouth, that makes it difficult to diagnose. Most patients suffer with symptoms for nearly three years before learning the real cause of the problem. When you seek help from an expert like Deep Dalal, MD, FACR, RhMSUS, at BW Arthritis & Rheumatology, PA, you won't have to wait years to get the help you need for Sjogren’s syndrome. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Glen Burnie, Maryland, or use the online booking feature.
Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks glands that produce tears and saliva. The inflammation and damage that develop in those glands affect their ability to function.
While Sjogren’s can affect men and women at any age, the symptoms usually appear between the ages of 45 and 55, and women are nine times more likely to develop the disorder than men. Additionally, about half of all patients with Sjogren’s syndrome have another autoimmune disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Sjogren’s syndrome typically affects the glands in your eyes and mouth, so most patients develop dry eyes and a dry mouth.
However, your immune system may attack other parts of your body, causing symptoms called extraglandular manifestations that affect areas such as your skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, nervous system, and joints.
These are a few examples of the symptoms you may experience if you have Sjogren’s syndrome:
Many patients with Sjogren’s also have chronic pain and fatigue that’s severe enough to interfere with their daily lives.
Your treatment depends on the part of your body that’s affected by Sjogren’s syndrome. Since there isn’t a cure for this disorder, your individualized treatment focuses on alleviating your symptoms.
Treatment for dry eyes typically includes preservative-free artificial tears or ointments that are used at night while you sleep. Prescription medications are also available to reduce eye inflammation.
In severe cases, Dr. Dalal may recommend getting punctal plugs, which keep your eyes moist by preventing tears from draining.
You may get the relief you need from a saliva substitute. Depending on the severity of your dry mouth, chewing gum or drinking water may help. Dr. Dalal can also prescribe medications that stimulate saliva production.
Dr. Dalal may prescribe one of several possible medications to treat body-wide symptoms. For example, you may benefit from:
If you develop symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome, expert treatment is available at BW Arthritis & Rheumatology. Call the office or schedule an appointment online.