Sjogren's syndrome (dry syndrome) is an inflammatory systemic lesion of connective tissue that is characterized by the involvement of the salivary glands, lacrimal glands, and glands of the mucous membranes in the pathological process. As a result of the inflammatory process, dysfunction of these glands occurs, which leads to a significant decrease in the number secreted secret. The most common (nine out of ten cases) of Sjogren's syndrome affects women after the age of 40, but there have been cases when the disease was diagnosed at a younger age, in women with ovarian hyperfunction. Also, this disease occurs in the presence of such systemic diseases as erythematous lupus, nodular periarteritis, scleroderma and sarcoidosis
Causes of Sjogren's Syndrome
At the moment, precise information about the cause of this syndrome is absent, but after numerous observations and studies it is believed that Sjogren's syndrome arises from a genetic predisposition. The provoking factors of the development of this disease are: the transferred neuropsychic overstrain, hypothermia, fatigue and viral infections
Sjogren's syndrome signs and symptoms
The most common symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome are directly related to the inadequate secretion of the secretions of the body's glands. They include:
- Dryness in the pharynx, nose and mouth. The feeling of dryness often causes problems when talking and swallowing. It becomes difficult for people to eat solid food, and the use of dry food (crackers, cookies, etc.) becomes almost impossible. In the oral cavity, ulceration can occur, taste sensations can change. One of the most common problems that arises from the long existence of dryness is the development of caries. In some cases, there are ear infections and nosebleeds
- Dryness in the eyes. The most common is the burning sensation, itching, the sensation of the presence of a foreign body in the eyes; increased sensitivity to light (photophobia), there is a noticeable redness of the conjunctiva
- Increased parotid glands
- Dry skin
- Dryness of the vagina. As a result, the sexual intercourse becomes painful enough
In addition to the above symptoms, there may be an increase in overall body temperature, stiffness and pain in the joints, general malaise, muscle pain, and loss of hair
Diagnosis of Sjogren's Syndrome
Burning eyes and dry mouth can not always mean that we are talking about the presence of a person in this syndrome. Diagnosis of Sjogren's syndrome is possible only in the presence of inflammatory lesions of glands. However, there are cases when a similar result can result in various metabolic diseases, in which the secretion of saliva is significantly reduced (most often it is diabetes mellitus ). As a result, the function of salivary and lacrimal glands is prematurely reduced in senile individuals. These forms of dryness of the eyes and mouth have nothing to do with Sjögren's syndrome. Also for the diagnosis of this syndrome is the study of tissues. For this type of study, small fragments of the oral mucosa are taken, which are examined with a microscope. Thus the defeat of the mucous glands is established
Sjögren's Syndrome Treatment
The main tasks in the treatment of Sjogren's syndrome are treatment of symptoms of burning eyes and dryness of the mouth, as well as the removal of localized inflammation.
The removal of the inflammatory process presents quite serious difficulties, as in the case of Sjögren's syndrome there are discussed such diseases as systemic lupus erythematosus and chronic polyarthritis. In such cases, medications are prescribed that are similar to medications used to treat these diseases (immunosuppressors, cortisone, etc.), especially when symptoms such as weakness and fever
Dryness of the oral cavity is a rather unpleasant symptom, which causes a rather strong thirst. Saliva performs not only the role of a moisturizing liquid that helps with swallowing and chopping food, but also protects the oral mucosa from possible infection. Therefore, an insufficient amount of produced saliva often leads to tooth decay and to various dentogingival inflammatory processes. Because of this, it is necessary to engage in quality oral care: periodically rinse the oral cavity with special antiseptic solutions, and also several times a day brushing your teeth, it is recommended to use sugar-free chewing gums.
Sometimes there are cases when pathogens migrate from the oral cavity to the salivary glands, thereby causing their infection. In this case, a sudden painful swelling of the salivary glands arises, which is often accompanied by a fever. In this state, treatment with antibiotics, as well as sprays or aerosols containing artificial saliva
Reduced production of tear fluid leads to hyperemia of the cornea and conjunctiva of the eye. For treatment, multiple daily moisturizing of the eyes is indicated by instillation of artificial tears; before going to bed shows the use of ophthalmic ointment. Due to the absence of tear fluid, a strong infection of the eyes is possible, therefore, at the first signs of the inflammatory process, it is necessary to immediately contact the oculist
To moisten the over-dried mucous membranes of the nose, the use of special nasal aerosols is indicated. Also during the treatment it is necessary to maintain the recommended air humidity with the help of an air humidifier or conditioner
Dryness of the vagina and labia causes strong pain during sexual intercourse, and also increases the likelihood of infection. To moisten these areas of the body, the attending physician prescribes an appropriate cream or gel.