Sjogren or Sjögren's syndrome is a chronic autoimmune rheumatic disease in which the external secretory glands are affected. These are mainly the lacrimal (tears) and salivary (saliva) glands.
Hence the typical symptoms, for which the disease is also referred to as dry syndrome.
Sjögren syndrome = SjS = Sicca syndrome / complex - sicca = dry ⇒ dry syndrome.
It is a multisystem disease that results in the malfunction of the exocrine glands, which is associated with other problems manifested in different parts of the human body.
Multisystem means that it affects multiple organ systems.
Exocrine glands are glands with external secretion.
External secretion = secretion is secreted through an outlet onto the surface of the epithelium, into a hollow organ or onto the surface of the body.
It mostly affects women.
In addition, this disease often runs together with other rheumatic and autoimmune diseases.
Accordingly, it is divided into primary and secondary forms.
The disease itself is characterized by a diverse course, which is highly individual. New data are emerging in the study of the syndrome and it is branching out into multiple subtypes, which helps in targeting treatment.
The disease is long-standing, i.e. chronic, is classified as a rheumatic disease and its exact cause is unknown, and therefore a complete cure is not possible.
Treatment aims to prevent progression and alleviate the discomfort, which often reduces the quality of life and, in the presence of another syndrome with a worse course, disables the affected person.
From the history of the disease we know that it is named after the Swedish ophthalmologist Henrik Samuel Conrad Sjögren.
Further, other scientists, physicians have also dealt with it and refined the information about its manifestations. They found that it affects several areas of the body. Subsequently, they reclassified it as a systemic autoimmune disease.
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About Sjögren's syndrome
Sjogren's syndrome is a chronic systemic autoimmune inflammatory connective tissue disease with a rheumatic basis that affects the endocrine glands.
Autoimmune = immunity pathologically attacks the body's own cells.
The glands are affected by a chronic inflammatory process. It results in reduced function and secretion of, for example, tears, saliva and other secretions according to the damage to the gland in question. The damage may even reach levels of complete dysfunction.
It predominantly affects women, 9 to 13 times more often than men.
This is between 0.08% and 3% of the female population, and approximately 1.2% of the total population.
It is reported that there is usually a more pronounced onset of the first symptoms in postmenopausal women. Hormonal changes are therefore also considered to be a predisposing factor.
However, it is a chronic disease.
It was therefore concluded that the onset of the flare-up was already around the age of 20.
Occurrence in childhood is also described.
It has an age range of 15 - 65 years.
It mainly affects the lacrimal and salivary glands. Subsequently, a disorder of the glands of the gastrointestinal tract at the level of the stomach or pancreas is also described.
It also affects the secretory glands in the respiratory tract. It is thus behind the development of frequent nosebleeds - epistaxis or inflammation of the nose and nasopharynx (rhinopharyngitis), due to dry mucous membranes of the nose.
It is also associated with recurrent bronchitis (chronic bronchitis). The secretion of the respiratory mucosa has a defensive and cleansing function and its deficiency due to reduced production is the basis of the problem = frequent morbidity.
An example is the problem of dry skin and reduced sweating or sebum production. Dry vagina may appear as an issue occurring among women.
From the above information, it has a variety of manifestations that occur in different combinations.
Sjogren's syndrome can run its own course,
in which case it is referred to as primary Sjogren's syndrome
or Sjögren disease.
The manifestation is only hypofunction or affunction of the exocrine glands.
Hypofunction = reduced function,
afunction = total malfunction.
The second form is secondary Sjogren's syndrome.
The secondary form often occurs with other rheumatic diseases, such as:
SjS is reported to be the second most common autoimmune disease.
In general, it is known that autoimmune diseases often run in combination as systemic connective tissue diseases. It is reported that about 10% of people with SjS also have another systemic connective tissue disease.
Mixed connective tissue disease - Sharp's syndrome - mixed connective tissue disease - MCTD - syndrome with symptoms of SLE - systemic lupus, SSc - systemic scleroderma and PM - polymyositis.