Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and dysfunction of the glands that produce tears in the eyes and saliva in the mouth. The two most common symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome are dry mouth and dry eyes. Some patients are further affected by joint pain, swollen glands, skin rashes, a persistent dry cough, and vaginal dryness. There is no cure for Sjogren's syndrome, but symptoms can be controlled, with treatments depending on the severity. Treatment can include painkillers, eye drops, topical creams, and lubricants. Surgery can block the drains in the eye, allowing tear production to maintain moisture in the eye. Medications can also stimulate tear and saliva production.
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Confirming Sjogren's syndrome requires blood tests, sialograms, and biopsies of lip cells. Everyone with Sjogren's syndrome has slightly different symptoms, but each will experience at least a dry mouth and dry eyes. The majority of patients with Sjogren's syndrome are female and over the age of 40. Those suffering from an autoimmune disease such as lupus or rheumatic arthritis are more likely to develop Sjogren's syndrome. Complications from the disease are common and include cavities, vision problems, lung conditions such as pneumonia, cancer of the liver and lymph nodes, and nerve damage.
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