Sjögren's syndrome affects more than exocrine glands!

Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is a common immune disease that mainly
affects the exocrine glands. That's what we usually read! But we sufferers know that it affects many, many other parts of the body.

What exactly though is an exocrine gland? These are glands that secrete a substance out through a duct. They include the salivary glands, sweat glands and glands within the gastrointestinal tract, which is the stomach and intestines. The exocrine glands are the "glands of external secretion." (medicinenet)

Xerostomia is the medical term for dry mouth. But it is so much more:
  • reduced saliva 
  • tooth decay 
  • dental erosion 
  • difficulty wearing dentures
  • oral thrush  
  • altered taste sensation 
  • altered sense of smell 
  • burning or tingling sensation in the mouth
  • deep grooves in tongue 
  • difficulty swallowing and chewing 
  • dry, sore, and cracked lips and corners of the mouth 
  • mouth soreness 
  • dry throat 
  • dry cough 
Keratoconjuctivitis sicca is the condition of having dry eyes. Symptoms include:
  • eye irritation 
  • redness 
  • discharge
  • easily fatigued eyes
  • blurred vision
  • scarring of the cornea may occur without treatment
  • pressure behind the eye
  • excess tearing
SS can involve many other organs including:
  • lung (interstitial lung disease)
  • kidney (renal tubular acidosis and hypokalemia)
  • nerve (peripheral neuropathy) 
  • vessel (vasculitis, Raynaud's phenomenon)
  • bladder (interstitial cystitis)
  • lymph node (lymphadenopathy)
  • liver (autoimmune hepatitis)
  • pancreas (pancreatitis) 
  • GI (reflux esophagitis, peptic ulcer)

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