Primary Versus Secondary Sjögren’s SyndromeSjögren’s syndrome is classified as either primary or secondary.
Both are systemic diseases, meaning they can affect many systems in the body, and they occur with about equal frequency.
The primary form causes early and gradually progressive decreased function in the lacrimal and salivary glands, and can include a variety of extraglandular conditions.
The secondary form occurs in people who already have another autoimmune connective tissue disease, most commonly rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus. These people then develop dry eyes or dry mouth.
Some people with Sjögren’s syndrome have certain autoantibodies circulating in their blood called “anti-SS-A” and “anti-SS-B.” They are strongly but not exclusively associated with Sjögren’s syndrome. Other people with clear evidence of primary Sjögren’s syndrome do not have those antibodies.
Although people with secondary Sjögren’s syndrome generally have less severe ocular and oral problems than those with the primary form, they also have to contend with the effects of their primary disease (i.e., rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, etc.).
FROM: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)