Sjogren's Syndrome; Diagnosis.
No single gene, microorganism microorganism /mi·cro·or·gan·ism/ (-or´gah-nizm) a microscopic organism; those of medical interest include bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. or hormone is known to cause Sjogren's syndrome. As a result, diagnosis is often difficult. Its symptoms can mimic those of other diseases, and no two people with Sjogren's syndrome have exactly the same set of symptoms or medical history. Moreover, individual symptoms may be reported to different health care professionals--such as dry mouth to the dentist or dry eyes to an optometrist--so the condition often goes undiagnosed. In fact, the average time from the onset of Sjogren's symptoms to diagnosis is over six years.
Once Sjogren's is suspected, a detailed history and physical exam, blood tests for autoantibodies, tests to determine the degree of dry eye and mouth, and sometimes lip biopsies, can point to the presence of Sjogren's.
Symptoms can include:
Dry mouth. If you have Sjogren's syndrome, you produce far less saliva than normal. This makes chewing, swallowing and speaking difficult, and it may diminish your sense of taste as well as produce halitosis halitosis (hăl'ĭtō`sĭs), unpleasant odor carried on the breath. It is usually the result of gum disorder, tooth decay, smoking, indulgence in aromatic foods, or a mild digestive upset. , or bad breath.
Dry eyes. Your eyes may feel dry and gritty--they may also burn and turn red and be extremely sensitive to sunlight. A thick substance may accumulate in the inner corner of your eyes while you sleep. If not properly treated, Sjogren's syndrome can sometimes lead to ulcers of the cornea cornea: see eye. . On rare occasions, this can cause blindness.
Swollen salivary glands. Two sets of major salivary glands produce saliva. They are under your tongue and in the cheeks in front of your ears. They may feel swollen and tender.
Dental cavities. Saliva fights bacteria and defends against cavities. If you have Sjogren's syndrome, your saliva will be decreased, and your teeth may develop cavities more easily.
Dry nose, throat and lungs. Your throat feels dry and tickly, and you may have a dry cough, hoarseness, a decreased sense of smell and nosebleeds. Sjogren's can also lead to pneumonia, bronchitis and ear problems.
Vaginal dryness. Because Sjogren's can affect the mechanisms for secreting vaginal fluids, you may find sexual penetration difficult.
Fatigue. Sjogren's may cause you to tire more easily or feel an underlying fatigue. Fatigue is also frequently a symptom of other autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Joint pain. If the immune system attack spreads to the joints, movement of fingers or other joints can become difficult or painful. Joint involvement may indicate you have another autoimmune disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Other problems. Sjogren's syndrome can affect other parts of the body, such as blood vessels, the nervous system, muscles, skin and other organs. This can lead to muscle weakness, confusion and memory problems, dry skin and feelings of numbness and tingling Numbness and Tingling Definition
Numbness and tingling are decreased or abnormal sensations caused by altered sensory nerve function.
The feeling of having a foot "fall asleep" is a familiar one. . Sjogren's syndrome can also affect the liver and spleen. People with Sjogren's also have a 44 percent increased risk of developing lymphoma (cancer of the lymphocytes). Although this is unusual, it is another reason why medical exams and continued follow-up are critical.
With such a broad array of symptoms, in varying severity from patient to patient, diagnosis can be difficult. You and your health care professional may go through several steps before confirming the diagnosis of Sjogren's syndrome.
Physical examination. Your health care professional will probably ask you to describe your symptoms. He or she will then look for other signs of Sjogren's, such as red, itchy eyes; swollen salivary glands; a dry, cracked tongue; and enlarged salivary glands in your neck. You'll also want to discuss what medications you are taking--both prescription and over-the-counter, because many medications have anticholinergic effects that may cause dryness of the mouth and eyes.
Blood tests. Antinuclear antibodies (ANA), a group of antibodies that react against normal components of a cell nucleus, may be found in patients with Sjogren's syndrome, as well as the antibodies SSA (Serial Storage Architecture) A fault tolerant peripheral interface from IBM that transfers data at 80 and 160 Mbytes/sec. SSA uses SCSI commands, allowing existing software to drive SSA peripherals, which are typically disk drives. (or RO) and SSB SSB Statistisk Sentralbyrå (Statistics Norway)
SSB Super Smash Bros (video game)
SSB Space Studies Board
SSB Single Side Band
SSB Single Stranded DNA-Binding Protein
SSB Salomon Smith Barney (or LA). However, not everyone with Sjogren's has these markers, and not everyone with these markers has Sjogren's syndrome.
Schirmer test. This helps determine how dry your eyes are. It involves placing a small piece of filter paper under your lower eyelid eyelid /eye·lid/ (-lid) either of two movable folds (upper and lower) protecting the anterior surface of the eyeball.
eye·lid or eye-lid
n. to measure tear production.
Rose Bengal and Lissamine Green. These dyes are used to detect epithelial defects on the surface of the eye.
Lip biopsy. In this test, the health care professional removes a few minor salivary glands from inside your lower lip. The tissue is examined under a microscope. The appearance of the tissue helps determine if you have Sjogren's syndrome.
1. Of, relating to, or producing saliva.
2. Of or relating to a salivary gland.
pertaining to the saliva. function tests. The Parotid Gland Flow measures the amount of saliva you produce over a certain period of time. Salivary Scintigraphy scintigraphy /scin·tig·ra·phy/ (sin-tig´rah-fe) the production of two-dimensional images of the distribution of radioactivity in tissues after the internal administration of a radiopharmaceutical imaging agent, the images being obtained also measures salivary gland function. Sialography is an x-ray of the salivary-duct system.
Urine tests. These may be done to test your kidney function.
Chest x-ray. This can help detect inflammation in the lungs.
"Diagnosis." The Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation. http://www.sjogrens.org/syndrome/diagnosis.html. Accessed November 2007.
"Treatment of Sjogren's Syndrome." Uptodate. Last updated August 2007. http://www.utdol.com. Accessed November 2007.
Sjogren's Syndrome Treatment. MayoClinic.com. August 2007. http://www.mayoclinic.com. Accessed December 2007.
"Sjogren's Syndrome." Sjogren's World. Copyright 2005. http://www.sjogrensworld.org. Accessed June 7, 2005.
"Sjogren's Syndrome." Arthritis Foundation. Copyright 2004. http://www.arthritis.org. Accessed June 7, 2005.
"Sjogren's Syndrome Information Page." The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Updated February 9, 2005. http://www.ninds.nih.gov. Accessed June 7, 2005.
"About Sjogren's Syndrome: What is Sjogren's Syndrome?"; "FAQs About Sjogren's Syndrome": "Diagnosis": "Treatment": "Additional Resources." Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation, Inc. http://www.sjogrens.org/syndrome. Accessed June 7, 2005.
Carsons, Harris, ed. The New Sjogren's Syndrome Handbook. London: Oxford University Press. 1998.
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