Sjogren’s syndrome is a disease that occurs in the moisture-producing glands. These glands include the salivary glands as well as the tear glands. There is an infiltration of these glands with the white blood cells. These cells are an essential part of the body’s immune system. The glands are affected and less moisture is produced. This leads to the dryness of mouth and eyes.
In some cases infiltration of internal organs such as the nervous system, kidneys and the lungs is also seen. Sometimes the intestines and liver are also infiltrated. Because of this, multiple organs are affected. A wide variety of symptoms can be caused.
The occurrence of sjogren’s syndrome is seen in people who have suffered from rheumatic disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma. This is also known as secondary sjogren’s syndrome. When the occurrence of this syndrome is without any rheumatic disorder, it is known as primary sjogren’s syndrome.
About 3 percent of the population is affected by this syndrome. The condition has a presence throughout the world and in all ethnic groups. Anyone can be struck with this disorder. However, elderly women and middle-aged women are more likely to be affected.
The exact cause of sjogren’s syndrome is not known. An auto immune response is given by the moisture producing glands. Thus the cells of the body are mistakenly attacked by the immune system. The gland can be damaged by the infiltration by lymphocytes. What causes it is not yet known. But this is surely a combination of environmental factors as well as genetic factors.
The main symptoms of this syndrome are dry mouth and dry eyes. Dryness can be found in other areas as well. These include the skin, airways of lungs vagina and lungs.