Friday, July 11, 2014

Sjogren's Syndrome causes Dry Mouth

Sjogren's syndrome ( sho' grins ) is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks its own body.  This attack causes inflammation that may cause destruction of tissues and impair their function.

In Sjogrens, salivary and tear glands are the major targets of attack which results in reduced production or saliva and tears.  The lack of saliva causes difficulties with speech, swallowing, extreme tooth decay, oral sores and fungal infections.

Many Sjogren syndrome sufferers also experience debilitating fatigue.  Blood tests show presence of autoantibodies.  Antibobies are substances produced by the immune system of the body to defend against foreign material including bacteria and viruses

Diagnosis is based on  combination of subjective and objective symptoms including dry mouth, presence of autoantibodies and inflammation infiltrate in the salivary glands.

Sjogrens syndrome impacts 1-4 million in the US and is the most common autoimmune disease after rheumatoid arthritis. Sjogren's syndrome affects people over 50 years  and women affected out number men by 9-1.

"Treatment is generally symptomatic and patients often find a way of working around it by regular hydration, regular dental visits with flouride supplements" says Dr. Cherukuri from her Chino, California dental practice.

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