Sjögren's syndrome (say "SHOH-grins") is a disease in which the immune system attacks the glands that make moisture for the body, such as tears and saliva. The damage keeps the glands from working the way they should and makes your eyes and mouth dry.
The disease may also cause other problems, such as fatigue and pain in the joints. In rare cases, it can damage the lungs, kidneys, and nerves.
Anyone can get Sjögren's, but it's most common in white women who are in their 40s and 50s.
What causes Sjögren's syndrome?
Doctors don't know what causes Sjögren's syndrome, but it tends to run in families. It may also occur along with other health problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome are very dry eyes and mouth that last for at least 3 months and are not caused by medicines. You may have itching and burning in your eyes. Your mouth may feel very dry, as though it is full of cotton. It can also cause dryness in your skin, lungs, and vagina and lower your energy level.
How is Sjögren's syndrome diagnosed?
Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms and past health. He or she will also ask about any medicines you're taking that could cause dry eyes and mouth. If needed, you may also have tests to: