Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation and dysfunction of the glands that produce saliva and tears. It’s cardinal symptoms include:
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth
- Dental decay
- Systemic symptoms of fatigue and joint pain
Dry eyes and dry mouth may also be caused by other diseases and certain medications.
Sjögren’s syndrome is a systemic disease and may also lead to nervous system, lung, gynecologic, kidney and blood disease. As a result, patients with Sjögren’s syndrome can present with a variety of symptoms
These may include:
- Dry eyes and/or dry mouth
- Burning and numbness of the extremities
- Pain with sexual intercourse
- Anemia or low white blood count
Although Sjögren’s syndrome is often treatable, this disease is poorly understood and cannot be cured with current medications. Sjögren’s syndrome is often not diagnosed correctly. In part, this is because dry eyes and dry mouth are common symptoms, affecting up to 15% of elderly individuals, and many physicians do not test for Sjögren’s syndrome.
As a result, patients with the above symptoms should be tested and evaluated by physicians and medical staff who specialize in autoimmune diseases, such as those practicing at the Jerome L. Greene Sjögren’s Syndrome Center at Johns Hopkins. We use specific guidelines to evaluate and diagnose patients, and all care is managed in one center by our caring and committed staff.