Fibromyalgia causes a number of symptoms that often impair daily functioning, including chronic fatigue, sleep disorders and migraines. Fibromyalgia is also associated with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes severe dryness, particularly in the mouth, eyes, and nose. If you think that you might have Sjogren’s syndrome, please contact your health care provider as various treatments are available.
What is Sjogren’s Syndrome? Sjogren’s syndrome affects about 4 million people in the United States. Also known as sicca syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome is one of the most prevalent autoimmune diseases in North America. For unknown reasons, 90% of Sjogren’s patients are female. The illness can be very frustrating as it can cause extreme dryness in all parts of the body.
Sjogren’s syndrome causes your body to attack its own moisture-producing glands. This causes the glands in your eyes, mouth, and other body parts to dry out and become very uncomfortable. Sjogren’s syndrome can also affect your body’s organs, causing liver, lung, and central nervous system dysfunction.
In half of all Sjogren’s syndrome cases the illness accompanies a connective tissue disease. This is probably why so many fibromyalgia sufferers have the syndrome. It is estimated that between 35% and 50% of fibromyalgia patients additionally suffer from Sjogren’s syndrome. The discomfort associated with Sjogren’s syndrome may amplify the severity of fibromyalgia symptoms.
Types of Sjogren’s Syndrome
There are two main types of Sjogren’s syndrome. It is possible to have both types at the same time:
- Glandular Sjogren’s Syndrome: This type of Sjogren’ s syndrome is the most common. It causes the body to attack its own moisture-producing glands, particularly the ones found in the eyes, nose, mouth, and vagina.
- Extraglandular Sjogren’s Syndrome: In addition to attacking the moisture-producing glands, this type of Sjogrenï¿½s also assaults other moisture-producing organs in the body, including the lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and central nervous system.
What Causes Sjogren’s Syndrome? Sjogren’s syndrome causes your body to produce extremely high levels of antibodies, which end up attacking your own tissue. However, the reason for the development of these antibodies is unknown.
Many experts believe that Sjogren’s has a genetic basis to it. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that the syndrome is often found in families that have a history of other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia, and by the fact that it is not unusual to find the disorder in other family members. Moreover, the vast majority of people affected by Sjogren’s are female (about 90% of sufferers), again lending credence to a genetic link.