When the body cannot produce tears or saliva When the body cannot produce tears or saliva

Primary Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that destroys the glands that produce tears and saliva.

While this condition generally causes dry mouth and dry eyes, it can also affect other parts of the body including the kidneys and lungs. While its causes remain unknown, according to the University of Washington School of Medical in Seattle (U.S.), Sjogren’s syndrome is more common among women between ages 40 and 50.

Symptoms in the eyes include a burning feeling and the sensation that there is something in the eye. Warning signs in the mouth and throat include difficulty swallowing or eating dry foods, a loss of taste, problems speaking, thick or stringy saliva, mouth pain, cold sores, tooth decay, gum inflammation and hoarseness.

It is important to keep in mind that secondary Sjogren’s syndrome only occurs when an autoimmune disorder is already present such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis or  hepatitis C. Physical exams and blood tests will indicate how serious the condition is and what the best treatment is.

Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune disorders.

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