Sjogren's Syndrome: The Most Common Autoimmune Disorder You've Probably Never Heard Of by Susan Masterson, PhD
Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder you've probably never heard of, but just might know someone with it. At least four million Americans have it, and likely millions more are undiagnosed. Diagnosis typically takes years, and sometimes decades, due to symptoms being so varied and difficult to tie together.
In a nutshell, it occurs when the immune system attacks your exocrine glands which supply fluids to body tissues for proper function. Not only are those areas unable to work correctly, but the inflammation caused in the process brings about a whole additional set of symptoms and complications. Hallmark symptoms are:
- severe dry eyes and mouth
- joint pain and fatigue
Less common symptoms are:
- disorders of the lungs
- disorders of the kidneys
- disorders of the liver
- disorders of the female reproductive system
- Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (in some cases)
Most symptoms and complications are managed by specialists for each affected body system, and the condition is not considered fatal, despite having no cure. People living with this can range from having barely noticeable symptoms to disability from the impact it has on different body systems. If it sounds like you, ask your doctor about Sjogren's.
Learn more by visiting the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation.
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