Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that is characterized by dry eyes and a dry mouth. Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system, which normally fights against diseases and infections, attacks healthy tissues by mistake. In Sjogren's syndrome, the immune system destroys the glands that secrete tears and saliva first. Sjogren's syndrome is a progressive disorder. If not properly managed, the disorder may eventually damage other tissues in the body, including the nervous system, kidneys, lungs, and skin.
Sjogren's syndrome is divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Both forms occur with similar frequency. Primary Sjogren's syndrome occurs by itself. No other autoimmune disorders are present in patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome. Secondary Sjogren's syndrome occurs when the condition occurs in combination with other autoimmune disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), scleroderma, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Sjogren's syndrome can develop at any age. However, most people are diagnosed when they are 40 years of age or older. Women are about nine times more likely to develop the condition than men, estimates the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
There is currently no known cure for Sjogren's syndrome. Instead, treatment focuses on relieving symptoms of the disorder. Patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome rarely experience any organ involvement and usually have normal life expectancies. However, the prognosis for patients with secondary Sjogren's syndrome depends on the other autoimmune disorders that are present.
Autoimmune disorder, autoimmunity, immune disorder, immune defense system, immune system, lymphoma, parotid glands, peripheral nervous system, peripheral neuropathies, primary Sjogren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, salivary glands, secondary Sjogren's syndrome, SLE, systemic lupus erythematosus, tear ducts.