Sjogren's syndrome: How to recognize and treat
1. What is Sjogren's syndrome?
Sjogren's syndrome or Sjogren's autoimmune disease is an autoimmune disorder caused by dysfunction of the exocrine glands in the body. Specifically, the disease occurs when the immune system attacks the salivary and tear glands, causing them to stop working. The disease is characterized by dry eyes, dry mouth, and dry mucous membranes, often in association with other immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The disease is common in women, mainly in the age group of 40-60 and is not contagious.
Diseases associated with Sjogren's syndrome include rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, polymyositis, primary cholestatic cirrhosis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, interstitial fibrosis,...
2. How to recognize Sjogren's syndrome
Sjogren's syndrome can be recognized through the typical symptoms of the disease as follows:
Body fatigue, fever, rash, shortness of breath; Eyelid inflammation, dry conjunctivitis caused by decreased tear secretion with symptoms of burning, itching, eye discharge, red eyes, increased sensitivity to light, no tears when crying. Severe cases may experience eye ulcer complications; Parotid gland enlargement, which can be chronic or recurrent; Decreased salivation, dry lips, dry mouth causing difficulty swallowing, difficulty talking and severe tooth decay; Loss of taste and smell; Stomach pain ; Swollen lymph nodes ; Dry nose, throat, larynx, bronchi, skin and vagina; Systemic symptoms: Pancreatitis, pain - arthritis, pleurisy, neurological disorders, vasculitis, renal tubular acidosis, chronic interstitial nephritis causing impaired renal function,... To diagnose the disease Correctly, the doctor will evaluate through the clinical symptoms above, combined with performing a erythrocyte sedimentation rate test, a complete blood test, and a Sjogren antibody test. In addition, the doctor may also order the patient to perform the Schirmer test to quantify tears and perform a lip biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
3. Methods of treating Sjogren .'s syndrome
Currently there is no method that can completely cure the disease. However, doctors may prescribe medications in combination with other therapies to help keep the disease under control and relieve symptoms. Specifically:
3.1 Drug treatment Some drugs can be indicated in the treatment to relieve eye inflammation, dry eyes, help increase salivation and relieve joint pain, immunosuppressive. They are:
Medications to treat dry eyes: Artificial tears and tears are used for mild and moderate cases of Sjogren's syndrome. In severe cases with complications such as eyelid inflammation, corneal ulceration, additional antibiotics, obstetric ointments or autologous serum should be used; Drugs to treat dry mouth: Pilocarpine has the effect of increasing saliva production, reducing dry mouth for patients; Immunosuppressive drugs: Including corticosteroids, hydroxychloroquine, methotrexate have the effect of slowing the progression and reducing the severity of the disease; Other drugs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, common pain relievers help relieve symptoms of pain and swelling. 3.2 Lifestyle changes Changing daily living habits and body care habits also contribute to improving disease symptoms and preventing serious complications of Sjogren's syndrome. Some notes for patients are:
Regular dental check-ups, oral hygiene and interdental cleaning after each meal; Talk to your doctor carefully if the patient is pregnant or breastfeeding;
Talk to your doctor about products you are using that have the ability to moisturize and moisturize your eyes, mouth, skin,... In case artificial tears cause burning eyes, the patient should switch to using them. other types on the advice of a doctor. People who experience dry eyes at night can use ointments prescribed by their doctors. Vaginal lubricants used daily or before sexual activity also help reduce vaginal dryness; It is recommended to use an air humidifier at night to avoid dry eyes, mouth and nose; Use a topical ointment for dry skin to keep moisture in the skin; Tell your doctor right away if you have severe stomach pain, eye pain, or vision changes. In general, Sjogren's syndrome is usually benign and its effects are mainly due to its comorbidities. And it is best when the body shows abnormal warning signs of the disease, the patient should quickly go to the hospital for early examination and treatment, helping to avoid unpredictable complications.
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