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The symptoms of Sjögren Syndrome fall into three main groups:
Glandular involvement (caused by injury to the exocrine glands). Glandular involvement includes dryness symptoms according to the glands that stop functioning (mouth, eye, vagina, skin, etc.). It also includes inflammation of the main saliva-producing glands (the parotid and submandibular glands).
The dryness symptoms can vary from one patient to another and, in some cases, can become very serious. Its appears in a chronic, slow and progressive way that varies over time in intensity and frequency. The appearance of symptoms may also be influenced by external factors (stress, psychological aspects, mood, changes in the weather, etc.). The most frequent symptoms occur in more than 95% of patients with this disease.
Dry mouth (xerostomy). Caused by reduced saliva production that produces a dry mouth, difficulties in chewing, swallowing and speaking, greater likelihood of developing cavities and infections in the mouth, as well as inflammation and irritation of the gums and tongue.
Dry eye (xerophthalmia). This occurs due to reduced tear production by the lacrimal glands. It produces a sensation of burning, grit in the eyes, pain and blurred vision.
Other symptoms of dryness (less frequent) include a dry nose (pain, bleeding, loss of smell), dry skin (irritation, itching, easy to wound), vaginal dryness (pain during sex, infections), or a dry pharynx (dry, irritating cough).
Effects on the patient’s general condition. Tiredness; generalised pain throughout the body, joints, and muscles; fever for no apparent reason; sleep disturbances and depression-type symptoms. These symptoms are very frequent in the general population and can have very varied causes (not only Sjögren Syndrome), so they should always be evaluated together with the other two groups of effects.
Systemic orextraglandular effects (caused by injury to other organs). This is the most serious, although it only affects a small proportion of patients (around 10-15%). Any organ may be involved. The most frequent are:
Raynaud's phenomenon (hands turning white and blue in the cold)
And the most serious are:
Involvement of the kidneys
These internal manifestations sometimes give few symptoms and tend to worry the Sjögren specialist more than the patient, for whom the most frequent and annoying symptoms are the dryness and general symptoms.This is why it is important to properly monitor the disease.
Signs of the Sjögren Syndrome
Signs are the effects produced by the disease that are "visible" to both the patient and the medical team. In the case of Sjögren Syndrome the most frequent are:
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Substantiated information by:
Manuel Ramos Casals
Published: 28 May 2019
Updated: 28 May 2019
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