Sjögren’s Syndrome often is undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. The symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome may mimic those of menopause, drug side effects, or medical conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. Because all symptoms are not always present at the same time and because Sjögren’s can involve several body systems, physicians and dentists sometimes treat each symptom individually and do not recognize that a systemic disease is present. The average time from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis is over six years.
Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease in which moisture-producing glands are damaged, significantly decreasing the quantity and quality of saliva and tears. The disease was first dentified by a Swedish physician, Henrik Sjögren, in 1933. Although the hallmark symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, Sjögren’s also may cause dysfunction of other organs, affecting the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the nervous system. Patients may experience extreme fatigue and joint pain and have a higher risk of lymphoma.
For more information about Sjögren’s syndrome, contact the Sjögren’ Syndrome Foundation at 1-800-475-6473.
Sjogrens – – Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation – http://www.sjogrens.org/