The Sjögren’s Syndrome
This article appeared in a recent edition of the European Business Magazine “Focus” published in German and contains some very useful information in a consise format.
The article is intended to create awareness in the business community and to help employers understand the problems encountered by staff who suffer from the condition
INGRID MÜLLER, GRADUATE BIOLOGIST
Dry eyes or mouth? In Sjögrens syndrome, the immune system attacks the tear and salivary glands. The most important thing about course, diagnosis, therapy.
Sjögren Syndrome - what is it? These questions are asked many who come into contact with the complicated term for the first time. The name derives from the Swedish ophthalmologist Henrik Sjögren,
who first described the disease in 1933. Another name is Sicca syndrome, derived from "siccus", which means latin "dry".
The Sjögren syndrome doctors are connective tissue diseases called collagenosis. It is also one of the autoimmune diseases in which the immune system falsely attacks and destroys the body's own structures. In Sjögren syndrome, it is initially the salivary glands and lacrimal glands in the eye, later other organs can be added.In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system drives an attack against the joints, in the nervous disease multiple sclerosis against the protective coat of nerve cells.
Life expectancy and course in Sjögren syndrome
Sjögren's Syndrome is a chronic condition that accompanies life and progresses throughout life. Doctors can treat it, but not cure it. The Sjögren syndrome affects the glands and does not stop at
other organs. Often the skin, the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract or the gastrointestinal tract are affected.
Overall, the prognosis in Sjögren's Syndrome is favorable. If it is a primary Sjögren Syndrome, sufferers have a life expectancy that is comparable to the normal population. However, the quality of life often suffers because of the variety of complaints. The most common causes of death in Sjögren's patients are cardiovascular diseases, infections or lymphoma (lymphoma). In secondary Sjögren's syndrome, life expectancy depends on the underlying disease.
Frequency and shapes
Sjögren Syndrome is almost exclusively a woman's problem. Out of ten patients there are about nine women, which corresponds to a ratio of 9: 1. In the literature, however, there is sometimes a
frequency of 20: 1. In the group of rheumatic immune diseases, Sjögren syndrome is in second place - behind rheumatoid arthritis. Most Sjögren's syndrome begins in women between the ages of 30 and
65, on average at mid-40s.
Sjögren's Syndrome is relatively rare. An estimated four out of every one million adults are diagnosed with Sjögren syndrome each year. Doctors estimate that in Germany, two to ten out of 1,000 adults are affected by the disease.The reasons for the vague numbers are that many classify the symptoms "eye and mouth dryness" as harmless and do not consult a doctor. In addition, these symptoms also occur in many other diseases. Even for doctors, the Sjögren syndrome is therefore difficult to diagnose.
The Sjögrens Syndrome comes in two variants:
Cause is in the dark
Sjögrens Syndrome is an autoimmune disease. The misguided immune system falsely attacks the body's own structures. The organism forms antibodies (auto-antibodies) that are directed against the body's own tissue - in the case of Sjögren's syndrome, against the lacrimal glands and salivary glands. It causes inflammation that reduces the production of tear and saliva - they dry out.
Risk factors for Sjögrens syndrome
The cause of Sjögren Syndrome is unknown. Researchers discuss the following factors in the development of the disease:
However, these relationships are not proven. So it is not possible to predict who gets ill and who does not.
Secondary Sjögren syndrome: cause is another disease
Secondary Sjögren syndrome is the reason for another disease. Doctors have found a connection with the following diseases:
Blood count and diagnosis
The Sjögren diagnosis is often made after several years of suffering. Many do not even visit a doctor, because they do not consider the complaints serious. And when they go to the doctor, they often conceal the symptoms of mouth and eye dryness. Conversely, the symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome are so varied that even experienced physicians initially do not interpret the disease properly and make a mistake in the diagnosis. This is how the doctor proceeds to diagnose Sjögren's syndrome:
The doctor first asks you about your complaints and your medical history. There is a standardized questionnaire on Sjögren's syndrome diagnosis, which includes the following questions:
Blood test and other diagnoses
The treatment of Sjögren syndrome belongs in the hands of specialists who work well together in the best cases.The right contact persons for Sjögren syndrome are an ophthalmologist, rheumatologist or ear, nose and throat doctor. Although the Sjögren syndrome is not curable, but doctors can treat it. However, there is not "the one" drug that relieves all discomfort at the same time.
Eye drops as a treatment for the symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome
The following therapies help with dry mucous membranes:
Tip! There are various products that counteract dryness in the mouth and eyes. You may need to try a little to know which eye drops help best with Sjögren syndrome. If you need the eye drops more
than four times a day, you better access products without preservatives.
Are eye drops eligible for Sjögren syndrome? The answer is yes. The statutory health insurance companies cover the costs of artificial tear fluid in Sjögren's syndrome with marked dysfunctions (dry eye grade 2). The health insurance companies also pay for artificial saliva products.
Other treatments for Sjögren syndrome
If the Sjögren syndrome affects the entire body, there are several medications available for treatment. Some examples:
Sjögren syndrome and homeopathy
Some patients with Sjögren syndrome try homeopathy for their complaints. For dry eyes, alumina, Euphrasia (eyebright) in conjunctivitis or sodium chloratum may be helpful. Always look for a homeopath who has a lot of experience with various diseases. Although homeopathy does not cure Sjögren's syndrome, it may relieve the unpleasant symptoms.
Tips for patients with Sjogren's syndrome
You can also do a few things yourself to relieve your symptoms - the best tips!
Symptoms first affect the glands
The Sjögren syndrome causes various symptoms, initially on the eye and the oral mucosa. The following complaints develop:
Later, these symptoms are often added:
Rarely does the Sjögren syndrome spread to other organs and cause further damage: (Editor’s Note Please note patients with Secondary Sjogrens Syndrome can regularly suffer from these symptoms due to the link between Secondary Sjogrens Syndrome and another underlaying condition . ie Arthritis etc.)
Always consult a doctor for such symptoms. This is the only way to determine what is behind the complaints.There are a number of diseases that are also associated with eye and mouth dryness or
tiredness. Examples are the diabetes mellitus diabetes mellitus, the fibromyalgia syndrome or viral infections.